To make up for the loss of this year’s Special Olympics, which was cancelled by the latest Covid-19 outbreak, the Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust hosted its own week-long ‘Trust Games’.
Across five days, athletes performed in different disciplines: indoor bowls, athletics, swimming, bocce, and equestrian, and the trust’s people and culture executive Tamara Marsden said it was “a week of smiles and laughter”.
“We made it a fun event where Life Stylers and staff could participate if they wanted to, but [there was] no pressure. It was relaxed and more about joining in than concentrating on winning.”
Back in August, The Profile reported on the 22 athletes from Special Olympics Thames Valley who were gearing up for the National Summer Games.
Of them were Carla Van Deventer (swimming), Henry Munro and Simon Ashby (bocce), Jonathan Read (athletics), and Kim Forrest (indoor bowls), who had been training weekly.
But in October, the Special Olympics New Zealand board was “forced” to make the “heart-breaking” decision to postpone the games, held in Hamilton, to December 2022.
Chief executive Carolyn Young earlier said the latest outbreak and subsequent lockdown had put the games “at serious risk and could even jeopardise Special Olympics New Zealand”.
So, the trust held their mini games, and Tamara said it helped to encourage other Life Stylers to participate and potentially join the Specials Olympics team next year.
“The trust has two clear objectives: to provide quality support services for people with mixed abilities, and to promote and maintain the personal and cultural identity of Life Stylers, assisting them to achieve maximum physical, psychological and spiritual well being.
“These kinds of events are imperative,” she said.
“The Trust Games brings all of this together through activities, teamwork, learning, growth, and fun for everyone involved. Whenever we ask staff why they enjoy working at the trust, they reply because of Life Stylers, and events like these enable us to share the fun together and see Life Stylers enjoying life.”
Tamara also commented that although the trust encouraged eating healthy foods, the participants requested pizza for dinner at their disco celebration.