Everyone’s a winner at the Special Olympics Quebec Youth Games
For the second year in a row, Concordia will host the Special Olympics Quebec Youth Games at the Loyola Campus Recreation and Athletics Complex, on June 19.
In addition to providing facilities, the university is also offering volunteers to help with the day of activities and assist with promotion.
Krzysiek Kmiecik, Concordia’s summer camp director, is helping to organize the event again this year. “It’s really a wonderful day, seeing the turnout — the athletes, parents and siblings,” he says. “It’s a huge day of festivities, and it’s just fantastic to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.”
Philippe Desgagnés, sports coordinator for Special Olympics Quebec, says the Youth Games serve as an initiation to games for kids aged two to 12 years old, who have intellectual challenges and special needs.
“We want the families to participate, so brothers, sisters and parents are all welcome,” Desgagnés says. “Seeing the parents realize that their kids can do sports activities is always wonderful for us, for the parents, and most especially, for the kids.”
Following an opening ceremony, there will be a wide variety of activities, including a relay race, obstacle courses, javelin and long jump contests, and mini soccer with the families.
And everyone who participates is a winner. “At the end of the day, we give gold medals to all of our athletes,” Desgagnés explains.
Of course, the event wouldn’t be complete without a cameo from Buzz, the Concordia Stingers’ bee mascot, who Kmiecik promises will make an appearance, along with guest athletes.
These sorts of events are something Kmiecik hopes to see more of. He says Concordia wants to expand its existing summer camp program to offer additional services for children with special needs in the future.
This year, the camp has already dedicated a full week of programming for children with disabilities, which Kmiecik says he would like to see grow into a multi-sport, summer-long Special Olympics camp.
For the time being, Kmiecik is focused on June 19. “We love collaborating with Special Olympics Quebec and it’s a great way for Concordia and the Loyola Campus to give back to the community.”
The feeling is mutual for Desgagnés. “We have good relations with Concordia — they are very generous in terms of helping us develop new programs with Special Olympics Quebec.”
Did you know?
Special Olympics Quebec offers year-round training programs and a province-wide competition network to more than 6,250 athletes aged two and older with intellectual disabilities. The programs, available in 17 sports, are aimed at promoting and improving the physical fitness, self-esteem and integration into society of people living with an intellectual disability.
Find out about the 2016 Concordia sports camps.
Learn more about Special Olympics Quebec.