Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Volunteering inspires non-athletic coach

  • Print

Growing up, Cathy Holmes wasn't very athletic -- now she volunteer coaches some of the best athletes in the world.

Back in January 2009, the busy mother of three -- Nicole, 22, Sara, 16, and Stephanie, 16 -- was shuttling back and forth between her hometown of Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg every week for her two youngest daughters, both adopted and living with special needs -- Down syndrome -- to participate in swimming classes.

She decided to contact Special Olympics Manitoba, an organization that provides quality sport training programs and competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities, to see if there were sports activities for her two children closer to home. That's when the organization suggested to Holmes that with their help, she could start a team in Portage.

"At first, I thought, there's no way, I'm not athletic," Holmes says with a laugh. "But then my husband said to me, 'You can do it, Cathy. Do it for your kids.' "

So Holmes started the Portage Stampeders, a multi-sport team that includes snowshoeing, basketball and track and field. Its athletes have accomplished great things since its inception. Two athletes, one of them Cathy's daughter Stephanie, won gold medals for snowshoeing at this year's nationals. One athlete, Barret Wallis, 20, will participate in the Special Olympics World Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in early 2013.

"It's just amazing to see how the athletes have grown and matured since we began the Portage Stampeders," Holmes says.

She's seen the athletes' confidence grow over the years, she says.

They take pride in their sports, rigorously training and watching what they eat.

"Athletes come to training, they have fun, they practise, there's never any complaining, and when I see such great enthusiasm from the athletes, it definitely makes it worth it."

The Portage Stampeders team consists of 15 athletes ranging from 13 to 22 years old.

To become a volunteer coach, Holmes -- who works during the day for the Southern Regional Health Authority, while her husband is a farmer -- had to attend clinics and workshops put on by Special Olympics Manitoba on how to coach certain sports and prepare for the Special Olympics, as well as take online training to learn more about respect in sports and ethics.

The Portage Stampeders wouldn't be where they are today if it weren't for the volunteers who have helped her over the years, including parents of the athletes and community members who have come forward to lend a hand, she says.

"Volunteers like Cathy are the backbone of Special Olympics Manitoba," says Steven Dreger, manager of communications and media relations for Special Olympics Manitoba. "Without them, we would not be able to provide quality sport opportunities for our athletes."

Holmes says volunteering makes her feel good inside.

"It gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling," she says with another laugh. "It's been a really positive experience. I am so happy that my life has taken this route."

On Oct. 26, Special Olympics Manitoba will hold its 18th annual Special Olympics Festival Gala at the Delta Winnipeg. For more information on the gala or if you are interested in volunteering or supporting Special Olympics Manitoba, their website is at www.specialolympics.mb.ca .

 

If you know a special volunteer who strives to make his or her community a better place to live, please contact Carolyn Shimmin at carolynshimmin@gmail.com .

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2012 B3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief Clunis denies link between internal sexual-harassment investigation and Tina Fontaine case

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Water lilys are reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you still on the Bombers' and Jets' bandwagons?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google