By Steve Hubrecht 

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Easter has come and gone, soccer season is just around the corner, and this year there’s a team here in Invermere for soccer players with intellectual disabilities.

The team is the work of the Invermere chapter of Special Olympics BC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing sports opportunities for athletes who are cognitively and differently abled.

Special Olympics Invermere is already well known in the Columbia Valley for its alpine skiing, club fit, bowling and golf programs. This coming May and June it will add a youth soccer team for kids ages six and up.

“We haven’t run a youth focused program in a while, and hope that by starting our soccer team we will give families of youth with intellectual disabilities a chance to connect?with and benefit from Special Olympics fun,” explained Special Olympics BC-Invermere volunteer Blair McFarlane.

The soccer team will play throughout May and June on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Mount Nelson Athletic Park. The program runs at the same time as the local youth house league soccer.

Special Olympics Invermere is also launching a bocce program this spring for any ages. The first day of this program was held Saturday, April 6 at Pothole Park. 

“The benefits from Special Olympics programs go well beyond the basics: Our athletes experience joy and acceptance, cultivate friendships and self-confidence, and feel empowered to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals,” McFarlane told the Pioneer.

Special Olympics BC-Invermere is looking for volunteers, including coaches for soccer, bocce, golf or bowling through the summer, and a few volunteer board members. The time commitment for volunteer coaches is an hour or two a week.

?“Volunteering in any capacity for Special Olympics BC is a high-reward task and volunteers are?what keep our organization running so we can support our local Special Olympics athletes,” said McFarlane.

To register for the soccer or other programs, or to find out more about the bocce program, families can contact McFarlane through the Special Olympics BC-Invermere?Facebook page at 

Those interested in volunteering can find out more at the Special Olympics BC-Invermere annual general meeting, which will be held in June. Check the Special Olympics BC-Invermere page and future issues of the Pioneer for the date once it is confirmed.