The longtime director of Special Olympics Kodiak is moving onto other things.
Special Olympics is an international nonprofit that gives athletes with intellectual disabilities a chance to participate in group sports like floor hockey or individual activities like powerlifting.
Nicolle Egan, vice president of Special Olympics Alaska, grew up in Kodiak and directed the local group when she lived on the island.
She says the state seems to be especially sports oriented.
“People see us as a sports organization, not a field day or a let’s get together let’s have a good time. I think that the sports component of Alaska has really impacted Special Olympics in a great way compared to other states that may not be as sports oriented or as giving in terms of volunteering.”
Egan says longtime athletes tend to age out of the types of sports the group offers.
“Some of our athletes started when they were 8, and they’ve been involved for 30, 40 years, and they are looking for other opportunities. They may not be playing full court basketball. One of the things that we’re doing in 2018 as a team in Kodiak is really looking at how to reestablish some of those programs. Senior programs, maybe, and youth programs and adult programs.”
Kodiak Special Olympics is currently on a search for a new community director.
Dan Canavan had been in the position for 12 years, and says he feels confident about the strength of the program.
“Probably what I’m most proud of is just knowing that I’m handing the program off – a very solid, very good program off – to the folks that are ready to step up. The younger folks that are willing to step up and draw in those volunteers and draw in those partners and find those younger athletes and get them involved.”
Canavan says he retired from a civilian role in the Coast Guard last year and will use his extra time to focus on his family.