Insight Newsletter – October 2020

Inside this Issue:

  • BC Blind Sports Annual General Meeting
  • Two BC Athletes on the Long List for CBSA Goalball Team
  • BC Blind Sports Executive Director, Jane Blaine, Recognized by the BC Sports Hall of Fame
  • Sports Returning to Play
  • Dragon Boat – Dryland Training with Cindy
  • Virtual Fitness with Brian
  • Fundraising through Giftwrapping

1. BC Blind Sports Annual General Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended our virtual AGM.

The Nominating Committee Report was circulated to all members.
The organization thanked Darren Douma for his service on the board over the past number of years, Darren is leaving the board but we are sure he will be back someday. He will remain as our Sport Commissioner for Golf, and our representative to BC Golf.

Two new members are joining the board, Nancy Leung and Carolyn Gunn, both were welcomed by the existing board and membership.

Nancy is from Burnaby and has been involved with BC Blind Sports through her son who is blind and has taken part in many of our programs. Nancy has worked with our junior and provincial goalball teams as well as being one of the managers for the Dragons Insight team.

Carolyn is from Nanaimo and has been involved with organizing our Seniors Fitness program in Nanaimo for a number of years. She is active in recruiting new members as well as volunteers. She volunteers in her community and has served on boards with organizations in the blind community as well as with other organizations.

2. Two BC Athletes on the Long List for CBSA Goalball Team

Two BC Athletes on the Long List for the Canadian Blind Sports Goalball Team which will compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games (in 2021)

On September 28, James Thompson, Canadian Blind Sports High Performance Director, announced the long list for the upcoming Paralympic Games – Tokyo 2020.

He also said that between now and the final selection announcement on the 24th May 2021, all the athletes will be working hard to earn their spot on the team to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

With only six spots available on the team to Tokyo 2020, competition for places will be high.

The Long List is as follows:
1. Abeer Hammad (AB)
2. Amy Burk (ON)
3. Brieann Baldock (AB)
4. Emma Reinke (ON)
5. Genevieve Hart (ON)
6. Haley Olinyk (BC)
7. Maryam Salehizadeh (BC)
8. Meghan Mahon (AB)
9. Tiana Knight (AB)
10. Whitney Bogart (ON)

Congratulations and Good luck Haley and Maryam!

3. BC Blind Sports Executive Director, Jane Blaine, Recognized by the BC Sports Hall of Fame

Jane Blaine has been awarded the Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Award by the BC Sports Hall of Fame. The announcement came during the Hall’s virtual Annual Summit held on Sept. 18, 2020.

The award, given annually in partnership with the BC Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, recognizes “inspired service in and to sport in B.C.”

Jane has been involved in programming, education and administration of para and blind sport for over 40 years. Through her work with BC Blind Sports, her experience covers all stages of participation from beginning movement in infants, early motor learning, development of fundamental movement skills, PE, competition, high performance, and promotion of sport for a lifetime and healthy active lifestyles.

Jane is also the CEO of Canadian Blind Sports. She is co-author of our parent’s resource ‘Encouraging Physical Activity for Preschoolers with Visual Impairment’ as well as “Being a Sport Guide”; both published by BC Blind Sports. She was also instrumental in the development of a “Pathway in Sport and Physical Activity for Canadians who are Blind” showing how individuals who are blind or partially sighted enter physical activity and move through the stages of long term athlete/participant development in sport and physical activity.

Since 2009 Jane has served as the Sport Technical Committee Chairperson with World Para Swimming (formerly IPC Swimming) (under the International Paralympic Committee), and since 2002 on the Sport Technical Committee of the International Blind Sports Federation. She volunteers with various disability groups and community organizations including Sport Ability BC (Cerebral Palsy Sports Association of BC. Jane’s values include ensuring programs and systems are fun, safe, inclusive, ethically sound, equitable, and based on participant input and available evidence.

In Jane’s acceptance speech she recognized the athletes, participants, volunteers, families, staff, and board members she has had the privilege to work with over the years as well as acknowledging how much she continues to learn from everyone involved in BC Blind Sports.

CONGRATULATIONS JANE on receiving this award!!! Your dedication, commitment and extensive contributions to sport and disability sport in BC as well as at the national and international levels is truly appreciated.

4. Sports Returning to Play

Please note you must register with a staff person from BC Blind Sports prior to coming to a program. We are excited to announce that the following sports have returned:

  • GOALBALL – practices will continue on Sunday nights 7pm to 9pm.
  • HOCKEY – will continue every Friday from 11:15 to 12:30pm.
  • TENNIS – practices are now on Wednesdays from 2pm to 3:30pm and requires specific instruction on registering and signing in and out. There is online registration or in person registration at the community centre. All participants must check in with the community centre and provide contact information.

For information on what you need to know to participate or how to register in any of these sports, please contact Mike Lonergan at the office 604-325-8638 or email him at and he will give you the details you need to get back in the game. Information on return to sport is also available on our website.

5. Dragon Boat – Dryland Training with Cindy

This is open to all members of our dragon boat teams

This program has been put together to reunite team members and keep building on your technique and if all goes well get ready to start a new season next spring. Cindy has coached the Sonar Dragons team in Kelowna, is a certified fitness instructor with BCRPA, and is certificate in Health Coaching.

This class is for all levels of dragon boaters. This is a team sport and every seat is important. Imagine how much stronger your team will be if you improved your technique, strength, flexibility and Cardio during the off season. Cindy is excited to work with you and can’t wait to see how this training translates to a win in a race.

Come Join us for the dryland training on Monday evenings from 7:30pm to 8:30pm through Zoom. All you need to do is reply by 4pm on Mondays and she will put you on the Zoom Invitation list. The zoom invite will be sent out by 6pm each Monday evening.

Paddles Up!!!!

6. Virtual Fitness with Brian

Everyone is invited to join us in the Fun and Fitness Class with Brian, we are now offering 2 classes on Wednesdays, at 2pm and at 7pm. If you would like to join one or both of these programs contact BCBSRA and Susan will put you on the invite list. Once on the list, we will keep you on the list and you will receive invites for both classes, unless you notify us otherwise. Invites for the 2pm class will be sent by 12 noon and the 7pm class will receive invites by 5pm every Wednesday.

Classes will be approximately 40 min and we will have a water break at about the 20 min mark. Also please have a sturdy chair to sit on.

For questions or problems with Zoom please contact Susan on her Cell phone at 604-790-4174 as she may be doing the Zoom call remotely from outside of the office. We look forward to hearing from you to join our Fun and Fitness Class.

7. Fundraising through Giftwrapping

As many of you know, we raised funds over the past 13 years by providing volunteers to operate the giftwrapping booth at Oakridge Centre. Oakridge is going through a building phase and renovations and many of the stores have closed until the fall of 2024 in order to speed up the renovation process. We greatly appreciate the support of the Oakridge customers and management over the past 13 years as well as the many volunteers who supported our operation there. To all of you who volunteered and/or supported us by bringing gifts to be wrapped and making contributions in the past at Oakridge Centre in our Festive Season Gift Wrapping Booth, we couldn’t’ have done it without you! The funds we raised helped us to deliver a number of sport and physical activity programs through BC Blind Sports.

Last year we had a giftwrapping booth at Tsawwassen Mills mall in Tsawwassen. The management team has invited us back for the 2020 holiday season, and we are preparing for giftwrapping in these COVID-19 times.

We are looking for volunteers if you are interested in coming out to Tsawwassen. We will have a protocol to deal with COVID 19 and there may be some shuttle service being offered by the Marketing Department at Tsawwassen Mills. Please consider coming out to join us and help us make our Giftwrapping Booth at Tsawwassen Mills a great success.

If you would like to volunteer or need more information, or would like to receive additional details, please contact Susan Flanagan at or Tami Grenon at

Stay Safe, Well, and Active and Connected to Us !

Return to Sport Plan & Goalball Return to Play – Update August 25, 2020

We are pleased to present the following documents regarding our response to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

· Return to Sport for BC Blind Sports
This document includes our return to sport and program plans. It outlines some of the ways return to sport may be different than return to other activities and what permissions will need to be in place. We also have included information about the impact of COVID-19 on athletes and participants who are blind or partially sighted as well as information on modified guiding and instruction techniques which can be used for physical activity. We encourage other provincial sport organizations who have athletes who are blind or partially sighted to consider use of these modified guiding and instruction techniques, and we would be pleased to support you in personalizing this by sport and individual athlete. Each individual and organization using this plan should consider their own situation and the inherent risks of sport involvement in making their decision to return to sport – and what that looks like for them. This document applies to all of our programs.

· Return to Work
This document outlines our return to work plan, including how members or the public would visit if needed. This document applies to all of our programs and covers staff as well as volunteers. Please note that our office remains at the Joyce Street location and we would not be moving until early in 2021, however staff are still working partially remotely so please do not drop in un-announced.

· Goalball Return to Play
This document outlines the return to goalball plan. It will be used in conjunction with the above two plans.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the above. Sport in BC appears to be opening up a bit more now, however it is important to note that each of our sports and programs will begin with protocols in place as noted in the above plans, and will gradually loosen when the sport or program is ready and the health regulations permit. Please note that we will continue to provide programming options (including virtual options) to best meet the needs of our members and others that participate in our programs throughout the province of BC. Please continue to let us know how we can support you in being active at this time. We would also be interested in hearing your ideas and suggestions about our return plans.
Visit our Return to Sport section for more details.

All the best, and stay safe, well, and active.

Jane D Blaine
Executive Director

Return to Work Plan July 31, 2020

We are pleased to share our Return to Work Plan.

Please note that we are still working somewhat remotely from the office, though we are in a bit more regularly. You can continue to contact us in the usual ways as noted below. Most communication with members and others will continue to be done by email, phone or virtually in some way. Should a visit to the office be necessary, please contact us to discuss it and to make an appointment to come in.

Read the details of the Return to Work Plan (.doc)
or the pdf version Return to Work.pdf

Return to Sport/Activity Update – June 16, 2020

Dear Members:
We hope you are doing well. We know that you are missing your regular activities and being with your team mates or those you train and compete with. Many of the BC Blind Sports groups and teams are staying in touch with each other. If there is a sport group you wish to connect with, or a sport you would like to have more information about, please let us know. We have received the provincial return to sport guidelines from Via Sport and are working on the blind sports versions by sport and location.

What to expect: here are some things from the guidelines or which are being considered in return to sport:

  • Outdoor is better than indoor
  • Ability to maintain physical distancing
  • Attestations or health checks before each training session (this is a checklist reviewing if you are experiencing symptoms
  • For most sports – training but not competition at this point
  • Regular cleaning of equipment, no sharing of equipment
  • Limited or no access to changing facilities (depending on the location)
  • Is a sport guide used (e.g. bowls director, tandem pilot, guide runner) and are they from the same household or will they be in your group of limited number of contacts (if/when this changes)
  • How do athletes and others get to training sessions – and ability to practice physical distancing or remain safe in the commute to training.
  • Waivers and informed consent related to COVID-19 risks due to insurance companies have implemented COVID-19 exemptions (basically saying that COVID-19 related claims will not be allowed). Last week the provincial government announced a Ministerial Order protecting amateur sport organizations (like BC Blind Sports) from liability and damages directly or indirectly related to COVID-19. As more information about this becomes available we will explore how it impacts BC Blind Sports programs.

This gives you a general idea of what to expect. We know that for some sports this will be easier than for others. Some may require significant modifications to activities – but we hope to be able to get people together in some way. We may need to look at some form of alternative activities. We are exploring options with team managers or coaches. Some of you may wish to try something new also.

We will keep you posted as things progress. Please send us your ideas and questions.

Take care, stay healthy, active and safe; and let us know how you are doing.

You can continue to contact us as follows:

Phone: 604 321-1638
Toll Free Phone: 1 877 604-8638

Yours sincerely,
Jane, Mike David, and Susan
The BC Blind Sports Staff

Return to programs and sport – June 10, 2020

As some services and activities in BC are beginning to open up, we wanted to give you an update on what BC Blind Sports is doing, recognizing that things continue to change in this environment.

  • The instructions we have received from provincial funding authorities is that while some parks and municipal and private recreation facilities in communities are beginning to re-open, “…these activities should not be organized or operated by a PSO [provincial sport organization]…” (such as BC Blind Sports). They say “Participation in these activities is at the discretion of the individual and should adhere to current public health recommendations.”
  • We are waiting to receive return to play guidelines which are under development by ViaSport BC – which is our funding partner in the BC Sport System. Once received, we will be developing return to sport/activity guidelines for BC Blind Sports on a sport specific basis in consultation with instructors, coaches, and managers as appropriate by sport and location.
  • As a member of Sport BC, we are also working with them and our provincial sport organization peers in exploring the many implications of return to play/activity/sport.
  • We recognize that return to group – in person – activity and sport will be different based on the specific sport, location, season, and may occur at different times. We will have to follow National, Provincial, and Local health guidelines, as well as the guidelines from ViaSport.
  • We also recognize that each individual will have to make their own decision regarding their personal level of ability and comfort about how and when they are able to return depending on their own situation. We are also exploring options of how we could provide a combination of in person and virtual programming for some specific activates should this be the best option for some members.

We are very interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas about return to sport planning – please share your ideas and questions with us.

You can continue to contact us as follows:

Phone: 604 321-1638
Toll Free Phone: 1 877 604-8638

In the meantime, please stay safe, keep well, remain active, and keep following the provincial health guidelines.

Yours sincerely,
Jane, Mike David, and Susan
The BC Blind Sports Staff

Update to Members June 9, 2020

Dear Members:
We hope you are all staying well, healthy, and active during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We encourage you all to take a look at the activity suggestions provided on our website – new activities are added on a weekly basis. We are also pleased that some of our partner organizations in the blindness field have posted some of our materials. Also, please stay tuned for more programs coming soon, including more for adults and seniors. Information on your BC Blind Sports Membership for 2020-21 is coming soon also.

Please continue to reach out to us via email directly to one of us; by using our info email; or by phoning us. Contact information is at the end of this message.

We continue to work away from our Joyce Street office at this time. We would be pleased to hear from you and are happy to discuss your physical activity needs and adventures with you, and support you in remaining active as best as you can at this time.

We want to keep hearing from you about what you have been doing to remain active at this point.

We have also been working on building up information for an updated website and thank the managers and coaches who have assisted by submitting sport specific information.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for us, please let us know. You can continue to contact us as follows:

Phone: 604 321-1638
Toll Free Phone: 1 877 604-8638

In the meantime, please stay safe, keep well, remain active, and keep up the physical distancing.

Jane, Mike, David and Susan

Virtual Fitness

Come and join us for some fun and fitness!!!!
Wednesday at 2pm and Thursday at 7pm.

Our fitness class is lead by Brian and he comes with some wonderful music and fitness for all. Both classes will be about 40 min with a water break at the half way mark. This will also include the warm up and cool down.

All session will include seated exercises, balance, and some bodyweight exercises. You can use Dumbbells or soup cans if you want for added resistance in some of your exercises. We recommend that you check this with Brian at the beginning of the class. Please have a good sturdy chair for support and the seated exercises and balance.

This program is open to all members, If you are interested in registering please do so by sending an email to or Please indicate which program you would like to join either the 2pm, 7pm or if you would like to join both. If you are joining both you will receive two invites, one for each class.

Mark your Calendar for our fun Virtual Fitness Class on Zoom, every Wednesday at 2pm and Thursday at 7pm.

Hope to see you there!!!!

An opportunity for Para Rowing

The Vancouver Rowing Club is offering a great opportunity to experience para rowing in Vancouver!

What: Para Rowing Come and Try event

When: Sept 18th, 4pm-6pm

Where: Vancouver Rowing Club
450 Stanley Park Drive

Contact: Leslie

Note: spaces are limited and booking is essential, participants must use a mask when in close contact, be able to self-transfer.

What will I experience?

You will discover the basics first on a rowing machine, and then head out on the water with an experienced coach.

You will lead the experience in terms of your comfort level, physical ability and enjoyment.

Come down and try it – you’ll like it!

Why is rowing good for me?

Rowing enables individuals to maintain a high level of muscular and cardiovascular output. This is particularly relevant where issues may prevent an adequate level of exertion being achieved in many other sporting activities. Rowing is a unique activity in its ability to be adapted to a wide range of disability degrees and types and allows both muscular strengthening and improved cardiovascular fitness.

Rowing combines these benefits with being a wonderful, low impact aerobic workout. The benefits of Rowing as cross training can enhance performances in other para-sports.

The equipment used is essentially the same as for able-bodied rowers, with adaptations made to the equipment as required.

All welcome……try it, you’ll like it! Para Rowing offers opportunities for athletes with physical and visual impairments to be active on the water. It provides balanced low-impact exercise for the whole body, and is suited for a wide range of disabilities. Whether you are interested in having a social row, personal fitness, or taking this to the Paralympic Games, Vancouver Rowing Club has a program for you. Feel the freedom of gliding across the water.

For information please contact: Leslie Vancouver

Fitness and Yoga

We have a couple of things which members may wish to try:

· Introduction to Yoga – Audio description. This is a series of audio recordings from Jackie, one of our yoga instructors. It is an introduction to the basics of yoga. The first session is on breathing, posture, and finding your core. Activities are done in a chair.

· Fitness workouts – Brian, our fitness instructor from Nanaimo, has developed a list of activities that members can try. Members who have done Brian’s in person classes have found this very familiar. Others are welcome to try also.

Any member wishing to try these activities can contact Susan for more information. If you are not a member but would be interested, please also contact Susan.

If there is something else you would like to try out – or something you are doing and thing that others would enjoy trying or hearing about, please let us know. Susan can be reached at

Take care, stay healthy, active and safe; and let us know how you are doing.

You can continue to contact us as follows:

Phone: 604 321-1638
Toll Free Phone: 1 877 604-8638

Jane, Mike David, and Susan
The BC Blind Sports Staff