Five decades later, athletes competing at Operation Trackshoes in Victoria will raise the trophy one last time as organizers announce 2023 is the event’s final year.
Operation Trackshoes began in 1971 as a one-day track and field meet for people with developmental disabilities. Very quickly, it grew into an annual sports festival, offering various sporting activities for all ages and abilities and attracting over 500 participants from all over B.C.
“It brings people with and without disabilities together. It’s all about sports and recreation, it’s fun, and there’s a huge amount of comradery,” said event president Judith Armstrong.
But due to a lack of personnel and other resources, organizers have decided they cannot continue past this year — a decision Armstrong says was incredibly difficult.
“There are so many pieces that have to come together in order to make Operation Trackshoes work that may or may not be available to us anymore, in the same way,” Armstrong told CHEK News.
Organizers are hoping the community will bring its sportsmanship, spirit and heart down to the University of Victoria one last time from June 9-11 to celebrate 50 years of memories.
They hope to make the event another one to remember, but to do that, they need a lot of help. That’s because if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since its inception, the entire event is 100 per cent volunteer-run.
“We recruit people from the community to come to be camp counsellors and support competitors throughout the weekend, and we are definitely in need of more volunteers to sign up for that,” said Armstrong.
She says participants will probably get more out of it than they put in.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s a great way to meet people from the community, it’s all about sport and recreation, and that’s always something that brings people together in our communities,” added Armstrong.
To learn more or volunteer for Operation Trackshoes 2023, click here.