Q: With so many other sport organisations and non for profits, why did you choose Special Olympics Australia?
Sheryn: Disability and Special Ed teaching is my full-time occupation within a school setting.
Although I do not have any immediate family members with the need to access a Special O club, I have the skill set, capacity and passion to give my time to sports in the disability field.
It inspires me to know that I can be a facilitator, make connections within families and see social interactions that sport brings when our athletes come together to train and compete.
Q: What is your favourite Special Olympics Sport? Or what sport did you play as a kid?
Sheryn: My favourite Special O sport is swimming. As a child I was fortunate enough to be involved in many clubs and teams including swimming, netball, tennis, and calisthenics. I was also keen to coach from an early age with younger primary netball and tennis teams. I then went on to umpire netball.
Q: Is there a particular moment, memory or achievement that stands out for you?
Sheryn: Being the most recent, I would have to say being selected as the only South Australian coach to take a huge responsibility within the Team to represent Australia at the World Games in Abu Dhabi.
To see the hardwork pay off, the wonderful achievements were witnessed and celebrated was so inspiring! I was both excited an honoured when I found out and loved every moment of it!
Q: How has Special Olympics Australia impacted your life?
Sheryn: Being a part of the Special O family has reinforced for me how valuable my small contribution can make on so many families!
The heart-warming moments I encounter when I witness the small steps throughout training and to see success when competing is super rewarding for me. For me it’s about encouraging everyone to do their best at a level in which they feel most comfortable and nurturing them to feel good about what they CAN do!
I am a part of the Northern Braves which do weekly ten pin bowling and an athletics sports ‘come and try’ night. I worked very hard in the lead up 12 months prior to worlds helping with fundraising and local events to raise awareness within our community.
Q: What difference have you seen the Special Olympics movement make on athletes or family members lives?
Sheryn: The way in which small clubs like ours can bring young people together through the simplest forms of sport and recreation. These opportunities provide not only a sport but a social platform that our people are immediately made to feel wanted. They are comfortable around like-minded peers that they can make interactions and new connections. To see the joy this brings when week after week we gather, and they see one and other gives a huge sense of purpose.
Q: What would you say to someone considering volunteering for Special Olympics Australia?
Sheryn: If you are fortunate enough to have the time to volunteer then absolutely!
I am very much a team player that loves nothing more than being there to help, support and do for others where I can.
Q: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Sheryn: That I have a huge love of AFL and had there have been women’s playing options around 30 years ago I would definitely play! There are not many games I miss, including our local league SANFL.
Q: Where to from here, what’s next, what does the future look like for you?
Sheryn: My full-time work involves long hours and is extremely demanding on me both physically and mentally. I am very keen to stay involved with Special O keeping in mind that I don’t have the capacity to take on any more hours. Although I did a lot of work and learning to become a swim coach, it is unfortunate that there are no such clubs here in Adelaide dedicated to swimming.
I would like some coach mentoring in the finer detail required at competition level and training build up programs.
It is difficult with such distance between the South and North of SA that it is just not possible that one person solely manages the whole lot.
I would like to be kept informed as to all lead up events that are on offer and the processes that are taken to enter individuals.
I only wish that there was a greater exposure to the phrase Special Olympics here in South Australia as we have so many families that are in the need for this great outlet but no nothing about it or how to access.
Thank you, Sheryn!
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