submitted by Ellen Murphy, Sport Developer, Special Olympics PEI
For over 35 years, Special Olympics PEI (SOPEI) has been focused on enriching the lives of Islanders with an intellectual disability through sport. In the 2021-2022 season, approximately 550 athletes were enrolled in 52 programs across the Island, supported by 185 volunteers.
SOPEI offers its athletes a variety of sport programming from youth to community, as well as competitive programs and opportunities in leadership and health.
The Athlete Leadership Academy helps athletes take on positions of leadership within the special Olympic movement, as well as within their greater communities. Athletes enrolled in the academy work with their mentors to complete a two-year term, in which they will participate in workshops to become trained in their focus area and take part in leadership activities annually.
Healthy Communities is another important pillar of Special Olympics PEI. Through the Healthy Communities program, SOPEI offers a number of health initiatives to their athletes, including health screening in eight different health disciplines. These screenings can help determine if follow-up care is necessary.
As for sport programming, SOPEI offers programs for their athletes 2 years of age and older. The Active Start Program, for ages 2 to 6, helps athletes learn basic motor skills, grow, and become more confident in their movement. The FUNdamentals program for athletes between 7 and 12 helps athletes learn basic sports-related motor skills in a fun atmosphere. Multisport programs for athletes 13+ encourage athletes to be active for life.
Adult competitive programming includes sport specific programs as well as fitness and performance training programs, and provincial, national, and international competitions. Special Olympics PEI offers 18 official sports for Island athletes.
As Special Olympics PEI continues to grow program opportunities for Island athletes, their need for additional volunteers grows as well. Volunteers are the backbone of Special Olympics PEI programs, and without the commitment and dedication of volunteers these programs would not exist. The organization is currently looking for volunteers to support a number of programs across the Island:
- Montague Multi-Sport
- Charlottetown Active Start
- Summerside Youth Multi-Sport
- West Prince Bowling
- Alberton Multi-Sport
With an Island-wide reach and a variety of programs offered, there are a number of opportunities for individuals to start volunteering with Special Olympics PEI. Begin enriching lives today. Become a volunteer with Special Olympics PEI.
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