David Stevenson, left, Special Olympics athlete, and Cst. Tana Goode with the Ridge Meadows RCMP, head up the Law Enforcement Torch Run as it leaves the RCMP detachment downtown Maple Ridge for the two kilometre run in June. (THE NEWS/files)

David Stevenson, left, Special Olympics athlete, and Cst. Tana Goode with the Ridge Meadows RCMP, head up the Law Enforcement Torch Run as it leaves the RCMP detachment downtown Maple Ridge for the two kilometre run in June. (THE NEWS/files)

Special Olympics athlete inspires inclusion at summer camp in Maple Ridge

David Stevenson spoke about how Special Olympics B.C. has shaped his life

A children’s summer camp at the Greg Moore Youth Centre learned about the importance of inclusivity at an event honouring the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics B.C.

Pitt Meadows Special Olympian David Stevenson addressed the group of just over 50 people at the Mega Kids Camp, including camp participants, ranging in age from 6-to-12-years-old, parents and recreation staff about what the Special Olympics means for him.

Stevenson, 23, who is developmentally delayed and has autism, participated in the provincial Kamloops games last year in five-pin bowling and power lifting where he received a medal for the highest score in his bowling division.

He only started with the organization in 2011 after learning about it from a family friend.

Since then he has been able to try different sports he normally wouldn’t be able to do in an environment where he feels accepted and where everyone is supportive.

“Just how that has made him feel important,” explained his mother Diane Stevenson.

He also shared with the group the athlete’s oath which is, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

“It means being supportive,” said Stevenson in his speech.

“And if I don’t win, don’t feel hurt inside and be bold,” he told the group.

The Special Olympics Canada Summer Games just concluded in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

In 2019 the world summer games will be taking place in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and the provincial winter games will be taking place in Vernon, B.C.

Petra Frederick, recreation coordinator with Community Services, said it was great hearing Stevenson speak and that she realized sport does bring people together.

“Not so much on a competition level but just those lasting friendships that you make,” said Frederick.

Registration for Special Olympics B.C. is taking place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 25 at the Maple Ridge Public Library, 22470 Dewdney Trunk Road.

For more information email sobc.ridgemeadows@gmail.com or go to specialolympics.bc.ca.