An athlete and counsellor at last year’s Operation Trackshoes event. Volunteers are still needed for the three-day sporting event that takes place at the University of Victoria June 8 to 10. (Operation Trackshoes photo)

Counsellors needed for unique sporting event

More than 500 people with development disabilites to compete

Friday, June 8 is a day Jenelle Conlon has been waiting for all year.

The day marks the beginning of Operation Trackshoes, an annual sports festival for British Columbia residents with developmental disabilities between the ages of two and 80. Taking place at the University of Victoria, the three-day event draws more than 500 athletes to compete in a number of events including ball throw, high jump, boccie ball, and 1,500 metre races, among others.

“This is the best thing in the world for me. I can’t wait for Trackshoes to get here,” said Conlon, a Sooke resident who works in Langford. “It’s a big crowd of people all enjoying the same thing.”

Conlon has been involved with Operation Trackshoes for 10 years, originally starting off as a counsellor, alongside her daughter, and now helps with orientation for new counsellors. Now, she’s calling on volunteers to act as day and overnight counsellors.

Volunteers are matched with athletes based on their needs – some may be matched one-on-one with competitors while other counsellors offer support to groups of competitors.

When athletes arrive on Friday night, counsellors take them to their dorms and help them get unpacked and settled, then escort them to dinner. Following dinner, athletes and counsellors can participate in fun games of basketball, swimming or karaoke, or enjoy a movie or a live band.

On Saturday morning, counsellors help competitors get ready, take them for breakfast at the dining hall and head down to the track for competitions and to cheer on athletes.

For Conlon, being a counsellor is about building a relationship with athletes – relationships that often last beyond the competition. To this day, Conlon still keeps in touch with competitors.

“It’s a great way to make friends from different walks of life.

“It’s an atmosphere where everyone is accepted for who you are and what you can or can’t do isn’t what’s important. It’s more about being there, it’s about inclusion,” Conlon said.

“You will never do anything else in your life like this experience. You will never get as much out of going to this as you would anything else. You don’t have to bring any major skills to the table. You just show up and you just can’t help but have a really good time.”

Trackshoes board president Judith Armstrong said dozens of overnight and day counsellors are still needed for this year’s event.

“It’s fun. It’s a great way for people to come together and meet people they may have not met before. It’s a great community event. It’s meaningful,” she said.

Counsellors are provided with two-hour orientations and no experience is necessary.

For more information or to volunteer visit trackshoes.ca. Operation Trackshoes takes place June 8 to 10 at the University of Victoria.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Operation Trackshoes is an annual sports festival for British Columbia residents with developmental disabilities between the ages of two and 80. Volunteers are still needed for the three-day sporting event that takes place at the University of Victoria June 8 to 10. (Operation Trackshoes photo)

Just Posted

Saanich driver races to Chairman’s Trophy in Mission

Bill Okell has driven the same race car for 44 years

Local school districts gear up for the new back to school season

Seismic upgrades, inclusion and student safety are priorities

Camosun’s continuing education site a quick hit

Hundreds of courses available to launch new career opportunities

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read