Special Olympians Andrew Hicks (from left), Evan Crowell, Martin Fudge and Kelley Garron, and coach Jessica Atwood practice snowshoe for the provincial winter games, being held Feb. 4 to 6 in New Glasgow. Kathy Johnson photo
Shelburne County’s Special Olympians are gearing up for the Nova Scotia Winter Games, being hosted in the New Glasgow area from Feb 4 to 6.
The 13 member team will be competing in curling and snowshoe events.
“They’ve been training for the games since December at least once a week and sometimes twice,” said coach Mike Scott.
This is the first time Shelburne County athletes have competed in snowshoe for about 10 years said Scott. “We had competed in floor hockey in the past but the numbers are down” for fielding a team.
One area where the Special Olympians have gotten a boost is in the coaching staff, with three students from Barrington high joining the roster.
“That’s very encouraging,” said Scott. “They’re a great bunch of kids. They seem to be fitting in really good.”
Student Emily Perry is the new curling coach, while Cameron Jesso and Jessica Atwood are helping out with the snowshoe team.
The team also gets support from the Barrington and Shelburne high schools as well as the curling clubs, where they are given free ice time to practice.
“Both curling clubs have been very supportive of Special Olympics,” said Scott, “as well as the schools,” where the soccer fields are used for snowshoe training.
As for the athletes, when asked if they were excited to be going to the games, there was a resounding ‘yes’ from the team, who are determined to represent Shelburne County proud and bring home some medals.