September 19, 2020

Special Olympics Cayman Islands: They need funds for LA Games


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soci_logo_250Special Olympics Cayman Islands or SOCI is a non-profit programme of sports training that caters to athletes with intellectual disabilities from 5 years old and up. Strongly based on the premise that with sports training and competition, athletes lead fuller, more self-sufficient lives, and are able to achieve success on and off the field of competition.

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”

Special Olympics Athletes Oath

Download SOCI Fact Sheet

Our athletes have the opportunity to take part in national, regional and worldwide Special Olympics competitions, like the Caribbean Regional Games and the Special Olympic World Summer Games held every four years.

SOCI is a member of Special Olympics International (SOI), the largest sporting organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities offering training and competition in more than 30 winter and summer sports.

Special Olympics Caribbean (SOC) serves as an umbrella organization in supporting Special Olympics programmes across the Caribbean.

In 1989, SOCI became a registered non-profit organization in the Cayman Islands, and exists today with a membership of approximately 80 active athletes, providing year-round training and competition in: Athletics, Aquatics, Bocce, Football, Basketball and MATP (Motor Adaptive Training Programme). It is primarily a volunteer organization with the major source of funding coming from donations and fund-raising activities. There is no charge to participate in Special Olympics.

Our programmes also include:

Athlete Leadership Programme (ALPS) – where athletes are trained to be global messengers, officials, coaches and board members

Motor Adaptive Training Programme (MATP) – for those athletes with more severe physical disabilities

Healthy Athletes focuses on 7 areas of athlete’s physical health and well-being – eyes, feet, teeth, hearing, nutrition, fitness levels and sports physicals

Families Outreach – family members have the opportunity to participate in fun activities with their athletes

Unified Sports – an initiative that combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called Partners) but similar sporting ability, on sports teams for training and competition.

Coaches and Volunteers’ training and certification

Special Olympics Cayman Islands: They need funds for LA Games

By Georgina Wilcox

Special Olympics Cayman Islands (SOCI) need funds to send its biggest team ever to the Los Angeles Special Olympic Games taking place from 25th July to 2nd August 2015.

37 athletes and 17 support personnel will be going to the Games that carries a price tag of around $170,000. Although there is an expectation of one major sponsor covering approx. $70,000 of the bill there will still be $100,000 to raise.

Andrew Smiley, at a press briefing last week urged the community to help with fundraising efforts and keep up their general support during their current training regime. Smiley, a veteran, is one of the Cayman Islands most successful Special Olympians.

The team will be competing in a variety of sports that include track, swimming, football, basketball and bocce.

CITN/ Cayman 27 will be sending a news team to cover the event on local television.

Head of Cayman Islands delegation is Toni Johnson who said for the first time they will be sending football and basketball teams.

Cayman’s Sports Minister, Osbourne Bodden, said the government already partially funds the Special Olympic Committee with an official annual budget but it is not in a position to cover the cost of the Games as well.

From the SOCI website at:

Be a SOCI Volunteer

Special Olympics Cayman Islands is always looking for dedicated people to come on board as coaches and volunteers. There are many ways that YOU can help us make a real difference:


Volunteer – assist with training, administration, fund-raising and PR

Special projects volunteer – assist with National Games, Christmas Party, Healthy Athletes

Coach – train athletes in their sport, ensuring SOI rules are followed in training and competition

Board member – strategic planning, decision-making, administration

Donor – Project sponsor, Adopt-an-Athlete sponsor, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Friend of SOCI financial support

Support-an-Athlete volunteer – cheerleader, fill the stand at events, walk / run the race with athletes.

Special Olympics is a world-wide volunteer sport-based training programme that gives persons of all ages, with intellectual disabilities, the opportunity to train for and participate in competitions.

The sporting experience that Special Olympics brings to local athletes not only promotes physical activity, but it also builds individual confidence, promotes teamwork and leadership qualities, increases the social experience and builds awareness to the public through community activities.

Local SOCI programmes consist of athletics, aquatics, bocce, basketball, football and MATP (a programme designed for the more severely involved athletes). Athletics, aquatics and bocce start their training schedule in September and run through June. Basketball begins in late September and runs through December and football and MATP usually occur through the Lighthouse Physical Education programme.

At the moment, SOCI works with athletes from the Lighthouse School and the Sunrise Centre, as well as others who are employed and still want to participate in athletic events. At this time, training occurs once or twice a week depending on the sport.

The training programmes climax with the National Games, which takes place in June. But throughout the training year, there are other competitions that occur on and off the island.

SOCI is looking for people with a sports interest and background. Among the athletes who can benefit are Andrew Smilley, a top local swimmer who has excelled abroad.

SOCI will conduct coaches training clinics in September and this encompasses training techniques for the athletes and results in the designation as a certified Special Olympics coach.

However, being a certified coach is not the only way in which people can serve, as there are many different roles to fill in the organisation. The current coaches and board members have many years of experience between them, but, along with the athletes, they would certainly welcome some “new blood” to the programme.

Working with these athletes is some of the most rewarding volunteer work and is almost addictive once started; the benefits and goodwill generated flow in both directions. SOCI welcomes all volunteers ranging from community service programme coordinators in the high schools to those offering general assistance and sports experts who are leaders in their fields.

While the aim is to recruit new volunteers for all programmes, SOCI is specifically seeking volunteers with experience in athletics who can help expand the current offering, which at this point consists of weekly training sessions at the Truman Bodden Complex and primarily focuses on running events.

The incumbent coaches and volunteers for this programme are looking to expand, not only to increase the number of athletes but also to broaden the number of events to include more field activities.

The plan is to increase the programme to two afternoons per week – one session would be for younger athletes after school at the Lighthouse School, while the other would be afternoons at the Sports Complex with the established athletes.

The ultimate goal is have a steady flow of younger athletes who are well grounded in the basics and will then progress to the more advanced track programme.

If you can help, complete the registration form above and send it to us at [email protected]

For more information, contact us today.

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