Wood Buffalo Launching Local Special Olympics Branch

The Special Olympics are officially coming to the RMWB.

Elections will be held in January to elect the first Board of Directors for Wood Buffalo’s branch. Special Olympics Alberta will also be on hand to lead the meeting.

Chantelle Kidd, who has spina bifida and scoliosis, is one of nine athletes who’ve been part of the movement to get the Special Olympics in the community.

She tells Mix News she learned at a young age just how important this is for people who just want to play the sport they love.

“This was a program that no matter what disability you had, no matter what learning curve you had, you could come out, enjoy sports, make lifelong friends and really it was just a safe space that we didn’t really have to think about our disabilities.”

Interest has picked up steam in the past few weeks.

Two ‘meet and greets’ were held earlier this month to gauge the reaction from the community, with over 60 people showing up to share their support.

Kevin Garbuio, a member of the Special Olympics Wood Buffalo Working Committee, recently contacted Special Olympics Alberta to see whether it was possible to start a local branch.

This after a student of his at Father Mercredi wanted to start competing in powerlifting competitions and leagues, however, the closest were in Edmonton and Lloydminster.

“So it started off as something simple with a kid wanting to work out and he wanted to compete and now it’s growing into something that’s awesome.”

As of right now, Special Olympics Wood Buffalo will offer two sports – powerlifting and bowling.

However, Garbuio believes there’s a good chance it will expand in the future.

“Swimming seems to have a big demand, we see challenger baseball already going on, we have hockey happening on Saturdays, floor hockey is another one getting demand. The more athletes we get the more easy it’ll be to grow this.”

Meanwhile, the AGM will be held on January 16.

The working committee plans on establishing both programs ahead of time.

“To have this up and going, we would be able to show what we’re capable of, what we’re able to do,” added Kidd.

-With Files from Brandon Piper

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