Little Jordyn Skidmore-Travers is giggling. Mounted piggyback on Kessa Beddington, the seven year old is all smiles as the two make their way along the Royal Bay secondary track.
Just days away from Operation Trackshoes, an annual sports festival for participants with developmental disabilities, Skidmore-Travers is looking forward to a fun-filled weekend.
Beddington, a Langford resident, says that’s a common sentiment among athletes. “Talking to competitors (you) see it’s the thing they look forward to all year. Sometimes they come from the Mainland or come from a long distance and it’s a big weekend. Seeing how valuable a time it is for them makes me want to do it.”
Beddington is a volunteer councillor for the event, a role akin to a camp councillor. She helps participants like Skidmore-Travers, who has visual impairment, cerebral palsy and epilepsy, staying with them for the weekend and helping them get to and from their scheduled events.
Participants compete in sports including the ball throw, high jump, sack race, wheelchair gym games, bocce, leapfrog, the 50-metre dash and others. The annual event, which happens this year from June 10 to 12 at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium, also includes group meals, dances, karaoke and an awards ceremony.
“I think (the best part) is just the people I have gotten to know and the relationships I have built, seeing how much an impact a weekend of your life can do for others,” Beddington said. “It’s super fun, whether you are a competitor or volunteer.”
Despite volunteering with the event for a decade now, Beddington doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. She encouraged others to get involved.
“If anyone has a spare weekend and wants to be involved in an amazing opportunity, check it out … there is nothing like it, there’s really not,” she said. “It’s not just councillor and competitor, we are there as friends. We may be strangers at the beginning of the weekend, but by the end there are lasting connections.”
For more details, visit trackshoes.ca.