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Special Olympics looking for coaches

A dedicated group of volunteers has kept Comox Valley Special Olympics going strong for the past 20-plus years.

But the time has come for new volunteers to step forward and guide the organization into the future.

“We need fresh blood and new ideas on the executive,” said CVSO treasurer Peggy Cagna. “After many years people are wearing out. Without an executive we will not be able to have a local chapter,” she pointed out.

In her 16 years with Special Olympics, Cagna has filled many roles. She said that is also the case with others who have been with the organization for 20 years or more.

She notes many long-serving Special Olympic coaches also multi-task, helping out in more than one of the eight sports (bowling, curling, softball, track and field, rhythmic gymnastics, floor hockey, swimming and downhill skiing) that the CVSO operates.

“We need (coaches) to step up to the plate. It’s a great organization,” Cagna said, adding that Special Olympics pays for coaches’ certification and that volunteers’ costs are covered by Special O. “I came into this organization thinking I was going to give so much — it gave tenfold back.

“I think every sport, every athlete, should come in and volunteer for Special Olympics and see what the meaning of true sportsmanship is. It’s just amazing.”

CVSO has 80 athletes this year and Cagna said that is about average. However, there is nothing average about the athletes, who have succeeded on the local, provincial, national and international stage.

“We have two athletes going to the Special O. Worlds in Athens (June 25 to July 4) – Mary Wells for track and field and Chris Roberge for softball. Then we have Kerri Derringer going to Western Canada Summer Games (Aug. 5 to 14 in Kamloops) in swimming.”

Special Olympics BC notes Derringer will compete in the Special Olympics division and is one of only two females from B.C. who will do so.

In the past, three CVSO athletes have medalled at the worlds. Bobby Bolen and Richard Gillis in track and field, and Meaghan Williams in skiing.

To support all that travelling, CVSO is teaming up with Applebee’s for a fundraiser during the month of May.

Forks For Fundraising sees 15 per cent of food purchases donated to CVSO. A coupon will be published in the Record and it must be presented to the server on any Wednesday, May 4,11,18 and 25.

While dining at Applebee’s, customers can also purchase a raffle ticket from a CVSO member.

Up for grabs is an autographed Daniel Sedin hockey stick, which will be awarded later this year.

For more information on Comox Valley Special Olympics, contact Peggy Cagna at 250-334-1088 or lorenz_cagna.shaw.ca, or Randy James at 250-897-1828.

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