Main photo: (front from left) Councillor Dan Armour, Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano, Councillor Jonathan Wiebe, Special Olympics coach Barb Hallam, Councillor Nancy Alcock and Bill Weber from the Knights of Columbus with Special Olympics supporters including some Huntsville High School students at a flag raising at the Canada Summit Centre on January 9.
Special Olympics has an important mission: to promote respect and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities through sports. From modest beginnings in Chicago in 1968 followed by the first Canadian event in Toronto in 1969, Special Olympics has grown to an international organization with a presence in 169 countries.
A flag-raising was held today at the Canada Summit Centre to help promote the organization and its local programs. Bill Weber from the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, an international service organization and sponsor and supporter of Special Olympics from its first year, requested the flag raising at the October General Committee meeting.
This is the first time the Special Olympics flag has been flown in Huntsville, noted Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano, adding, “we’re really pleased to be raising it here in front of the Summit Centre.”
Barb Hallam has been the head coach for the Huntsville five-pin bowling team for the last 14 years, a role she took over from volunteer Wendy Dingman.
Eighteen bowlers meet each Friday at Huntsville Bowl for a couple of hours of practice, but it’s not all competition. Participation provides the athletes with social time with their friends, too, said Hallam.
And there’s opportunity to attend larger competitions, as well. One local athlete, Dennis Fisher, has qualified for the 2019 five-pin bowling championships being held in June in Oshawa.
Special Olympics has 18 recognized sports and while five-pin bowling is the only one currently available in Huntsville, there is a chapter based in Bracebridge that oversees five-pin bowling, cross-country skiing at Arrowhead, curling, floor hockey, softball, swimming, and T-ball.
The Special Olympics flag will fly at the Canada Summit Centre until January 19. For more information about the organization, visit central.specialolympicsontario.ca. To get involved in Huntsville as a volunteer or an athlete, contact Barb Hallam at 705-787-0325.
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