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From the CEOs desk

Last month I was pleased to attend the World Summer Games Selection Camp and meet the fantastic group of athletes and management who will represent us in Abu Dhabi.
It was great to see everyone together for the first time. Unfortunately the whole team does not get back together until they depart for the Games, although all sports have individual sport specific camps to continue on the work that was started in Silverstream.
One of the keys to the athletes’ success is the support from their Clubs to prepare them to be at their best in March. Head Coaches will have been in touch to ensure that the Club, coach, and athlete are all on the same page of what is needed between now and March. If there are any questions please contact the Head Coach for the sport in the first instance.
In August I also met with athletes and volunteers at Cardrona at the annual ski camps for two of our regional councils. It was great to see our athletes out on the slopes and to meet with volunteers as we begin planning for the next National Winter Games next year. I also attended the Lower North Island Regional Council Volunteer Forum – see more information below.

Carolyn Young

World Summer Games team meets for first time

The New Zealand delegation to the 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi is now finalised, after the team’s final selection camp in Wellington last month.
The team and coaches all gathered together at Silverstream Retreat in Upper Hutt on 11-12 August for two days of training and preparations.
“It was the first time the coaches had the opportunity to meet a number of the athletes, and to see the athletes interacting together as a team,” said Alice Wilson, World Summer Games Team Coordinator. “Now they’ve had that opportunity, the team has been confirmed and athletes will complete their preparations individually, and at team camps for each sport.”
At the camp the team spent time together and in their individual sports. There was an informal dinner and games night, and thanks to the generosity of Shoe Clinic, athletes were all individually fitted for shoes at a heavily discounted price.
“Shoe Clinic is proud to be once again supporting the Special Olympics New Zealand Team,” said Shoe Clinic General Manager, Hamish French.

“This photo features athletes getting personalised shoe fittings, so they have the correct shoes for their foot type.”
Watch out for more news on the World Summer Games team on our website.  

Healthy Communities half-way mark 

Our Healthy Communities programme is a three-year piece of work funded by the international Golisano Foundation. 

Led by our Healthy Communities Coordinator Rachel Clarke, the programme aims to build on the health work we were already doing, such as the Healthy Athletes screenings, improve access to healthcare and resources, and build partnerships in the health and education sector to support better healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities.
Rachel is halfway through her contract. Read about her achievements so far and plans for the future here.

Duke of Edinburgh agreement signed

Last month we were excited to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award which signals a commitment from both organisations to work closely together and to actively seek out opportunities which will provide youth with the skills, knowledge and experience to thrive in our everchanging world.
“It is a privilege to work with Special Olympics New Zealand and assist their members to gain benefit through the Award. The development of character and skills such as confidence, communication, problem solving and resilience is crucial for young people from all walks of life,” said Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award National Director, Karen Ross.

Read more.

Support Ryan's desert polar plunge

As part of the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run before the 2019 World Summer Games, Global Messenger Ryan Smith is set for an icy experience.
During the one-week Final Leg, Ryan along with North Taranaki’s Max Brooking, will be taking on the Solar Polar Plunge, seeing him jump into ice-filled pools in the middle of the desert, to raise money for Special Olympics International and New Zealand.
It’s sure to be cool! Donate here. Funds raised will support Ryan to be part of the Final Leg.

Back on the football field in Manawatu

Football enthusiasts at Special Olympics Manawatu are gearing up for their first tournament in around two years, after the Club signed up two new volunteer Coaches and a Team Manager.
Chairperson John Dunweg said the team has been in recess due to a lack of coaches and is pleased to welcome Akashdeep Beniwal and Jessica Brown from Massey University, and Omar Jagana who works for the New Zealand Defence Force based at Linton.
“The team is excited to be getting back on the football field. The question was always being asked about when football would be back,” John said.
“The new coaches are absolutely excellent and the athletes really love them. They are getting the team together weekly, focusing on skills development and have completely taken over from me now!”
Special Olympics Manawatu will compete in the Hawkes Bay football competition on 30 September.
Twenty athletes from Clubs in the Lower South Island hit Cardrona in early August for the Upper South Island Regional Council ski camp. The camp included three days of training and instruction, one day of racing, and a day of socialising and relaxing.
“The race course for the morning race tested our athletes, the afternoon course provided a more successful outcome for them all.  The camp is always well run by our volunteers and the Cardrona staff and it was great for the volunteers to meet with Carolyn with new CEO and start to prepare for the National Winter Games in 2019,” said Lower South Island Regional Council Snow Sports Coordinator Sue Rudduck.

Volunteers gather in Lower North 

Volunteers from eight North Island Clubs got together to learn and share at the Lower North Island Regional Council Volunteer Forum on 4 August.

45 volunteers from eight Clubs attended the one-day forum, which included an opportunity to meet our CEO Carolyn Young, a discussion on the Event Management Timeline, and breakout sessions for volunteers with 0-2 years or 3+ years’ experience with Special Olympics.
In the afternoon attendees had the choice to attend one of two streams. The Sports stream included a live coaching session on adapting the Coach Developer Framework for athletes with intellectual disabilities, led by Sport Manawatu’s Jason Fletcher. Seven athletes from Special Olympics Manawatu came along to help with the session, which focused on basketball, bocce, football and golf.
The second option, the Volunteer stream, covered Fundraising, Office 365 and Xero, and was led by Christine Richardson and Matthew Burgess of Special Olympics Wellington.
Ravi Kandula, Secretary and Basketball Coach for Special Olympics Wellington said the forum was a great opportunity to network and spend time with other coaches.
“For me going along to these kinds of events is part of getting to know the organisation and who is involved with it – I like to know the ins and outs!  I particularly enjoyed the Coach Developer session, and it was great to have a live demo,” Ravi said.

Watch some videos from the day on our Facebook page 
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