Baseball players with the Lacombe and District Special Olympics chapter pose for a photo in 2019. photo submitted

Baseball players with the Lacombe and District Special Olympics chapter pose for a photo in 2019. photo submitted

Registrations open for Lacombe & District Special Olympics’ new season

Local affiliate covers Lacombe, Rimbey, Ponoka and Blackfalds regions

Lacombe & District Special Olympics is gearing up for a brand new season of activities, and organizers are encouraging those interested to register as soon as they can.

“We have an annual registration date for programs which run through the coming year,” explained Dwayne Campbell, director of Lacombe & District Special Olympics.

The past couple of years were of course impacted by the pandemic – there were fewer activities and attendance was down a bit.

But heading into a brand new season, organizers are hoping folks will check out what the organization has planned for the 2022/2023 season, he said.

Campbell’s son Warren is an athlete in the local program, and so to support his involvement, Dwayne has served as chair of the affiliate, as well as volunteering and handling coaching duties over the past 15 years.

Ultimately, the program is about joining in on the fun, being active through the weekly sports programs, being part of the local Special Olympics team and enjoying many opportunities to meet new friends, he said.

Programs are open to youth, teens and adults who are eligible to take part. Coming up this fall and winter, there will be five-pin bowling at Ambassador Bowling Lanes in Lacombe, plus swimming at the Burman University Athletic Centre.

”Our weekly schedule (for bowling) will be Tuesday afternoons from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. from Oct. 4th to April 25th. The annual registration fee is $125,” he said.

For swimming, the weekly schedule will be Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. from Oct. 5th through to April 11th.

The annual registration fee is $75.

The swimming sessions are divided into two groups – one that is more focused on water safety and those learning to swim.

The other group is more focused on lane swimming with more of a competitive edge.

Looking ahead to the spring and summer sports, there will be softball and Bocce ball.

Those interested in taking part in summer sports are asked to check the box on the registration forms. Registration will then be finalized next April.

To register, head to www.specialolympics.ca/alberta/register prior to Oct. 1.

“We are starting the first of October, so we like to have everyone registered by around mid-September so we know what our numbers are,” he explained.

Those interested in volunteering can also click on the site for more information as well.

Hard copies of registration forms are also available, and those registering aren’t required to pay fees at that time.

“We ask that you provide payment by cash or cheque payable to Lacombe Special Olympics by mid-October.”

Campbell said the local organization is an affiliate of Alberta Special Olympics.

And as mentioned, the group’s reach essentially covers Blackfalds to Ponoka and Alix to Rimbey.

As Campbell pointed out, the program is vital as it opens doors to a greater sense of inclusion plus it provides opportunities for participants to enjoy fun and skill-building events.

“We are also always looking for new members to come and have the opportunity to be involved with recreational activities, have some fun, be with their friends and work on their fitness,” he said, adding that the emphasis is always on ‘fun, friends and fitness’.

There are competitive events as well for those who are interested, he said, adding that community funding also helps make programming possible.

“A good number are satisfied with the local events, but we also go to Red Deer or Olds for regional tournaments, too.

“Some have also gone onto provincial games. We have the opportunities for that as well,” he said.

“It’s sort of a family group – there are athletes with either their support staff or their families. Members support each other, and they are open to sharing those experiences with other families who are coming into the organization,” he said.

For further information, contact Dwayne Campbell at 403-782-6921, or by email him at adnil06@telus.net.

You can also call Margorie Krossa at 403-357-4366 or email her at dreamaway@telus.net.