Caledon’s Special Olympians eager to get back to the action

July 16, 2020   ·   0 Comments


In 2017, Vice Chairperson Joe Sassine, Gary Derrell and other passionate parents wanted to make a difference in the Town of Caledon. 

Together, the Special Olympics Caledon was formed and was officially introduced in January 2018. It is a competition for athletes with intellectual disability, cognitive delay or a developmental disability. 

“We wanted to open Special Olympics in Caledon because there are many Special Olympians in Caledon that have no organization to belong to,” said Sassine, in an email to the Caledon Citizen, written by Tara Wilson in Public Relations. 

“We started out with just four or five bowlers and a couple of lanes. To date, we have grown to about 50 bowlers and 20 other athletes in multiple sports programs.” 

A year ago, this week, marked the second annual Special Olympics in Caledon. Today, the Special Olympics committee; partnered with Special Olympics Ontario, is at a standstill. 

All sports, such as bowling, golf, swimming, basketball, track and field, bocce and soccer will have to wait. 

Sassine, is thankful for the local support. Fundraising events have allowed the organization to be self-funded. 

With a repour of young, competitive athletes that have travelled all across the province, nationally and internationally for their competitions, COVID is playing a detrimental role. 

Both Wilson and Sassine have a child, part of the Special Olympics in Caledon, eager to get back into playing what they love and passionately, competing. 

Wilson’s son Isaiah, who participates in basketball, bowling, swimming and track and field is having a difficult time coping with current social and physical distancing measures. 

“When can I go back to Special Olympics and see my friends?” Isaiah continues to ask. For now, he rides his bike, plays basketball and jumps in the pool to continue to stay active. 

Special Olympics Ontario and Special Olympics Caledon currently wait for further instruction by health officials. The priority right now is to stay focused on developing and supporting new ideas filtered within the organization as athletes, volunteers and partners remain connected. 

As part of a broadband of ideas that have been considered, in Wilson’s email, some of which are daily workout routines, Zumba classes and meditation all conducted through Facebook Live across North America. 

Also, through Facebook Live, a dietician teaches athletes how to make healthy smoothies as a part of their daily lifestyle. 

As a part of daily living, fitness challenges and wellness challenges have been introduced to improve overall physical and mental health through this period. 

On the plus side, Special Olympic Bowlers may see their season return in September; pending no further implications. 

Special Olympics Caledon Bowling is in the process of setting measures in place to ensure player safety. There will be two bowling times (instead of one), with the first session running from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the second session partaking from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The half-an-hour break in between is for staff to have time to sanitize the lanes. There will be four athletes per lane and only six lanes being used at a time. 

Parents, will be asked to leave once they have dropped off their athlete and return when the match is over. As for the athletes, it will be required to bring your own bowling ball. 



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