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Special Olympics SVG gets technical support from regional officials

Special Olympics SVG gets technical support from regional officials


Special Olympics St Vincent and the Grenadines (SOSVG) was host to a team of officials from regional programs of the Special Olympics Movement, October 31 to November 4.{{more}} The delegation comprised Maureen Webber, former chair of Special Olympics Caribbean (SOC), David Benjamin, SOC Sport and Training Director, Beth Aldridge, Director of Organizational Development, Special Olympics North America (SONA) and Bill Buford, SONA Caribbean Regional Coordinator, Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR).

On November 1, the team members, accompanied by SOSVG board Chair Errol Allen, called on Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture Cecil McKie, who pledged his support to the local program. They also held discussions on sponsorship for the program with the management of Digicel, long-time sponsor of Special Olympics throughout the Caribbean, and other business places.

During their stay, the team provided technical support for SOSVG in a series of activities involving Special Olympics officials, volunteers and athletes, law enforcement officers and other sporting bodies. From November 2-3, Special Olympics officials and law enforcement officers from Belize, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and Suriname joined their Vincentian counterparts at the Grenadine House in a regional workshop on the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). Initiated in 1981 by the Kansas police force, the Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grass-roots fund-raising event for Special Olympics worldwide. SVG law enforcement was represented by ASP Jonathan Nichols, who has participated in Torch Runs at the international level and spearheaded the event in SVG in the past, and Inspector Hawkins Nanton. Addressing the participants at the opening ceremony of the workshop, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller reaffirmed his commitment to the Torch Run and promised his full support for revival of the event in St Vincent and the Grenadines. SOSVG Board Chair Errol Allen welcomed the visiting participants and spoke to the creativity of Special Olympics in referring to persons with intellectual disabilities as “athletes,” thus boosting their self-esteem and moving towards the elimination of the derogatory terms generally used to describe such persons. The workshop was facilitated by Bill Buford, a former Arkansas police officer, and Beth Aldridge.

In working sessions November 2-3, outgoing SOC Chair Maureen Webber assisted the local board of directors in the formulation of an action plan for the next 18 months. Local sports officials were simultaneously engaged in a Games Management course conducted by SOC Sport and Training Director David Benjamin at Frenches House.

The activities climaxed with a Torch Run demonstration and a keenly contested mini football competition among 22 special athletes at the Victoria Park on Saturday, November 3, which provided an opportunity for the athletes to interact with visiting team members and workshop participants. Special Olympics SVG is expected to stage a Law Enforcement Torch Run and National Games in 2013.