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Our Future National Strategy 2012-2015


p e g ople n i v i with G l l i i t a y b a u a o t n ppor c i e n l l t e dis t unity o p s s e ibilit , choice and th y t o n s a r l e b est o reach their p throu gh sport.

Photo Credits


About Us

Cover: Special Olympics Queensland basketballer, Renee Rumming and volunteer coach, Debbie Jukes celebrate the team’s performance at the inaugural Trans Tasman Tournament held in New Zealand in 2011. Photo by Inspire Photography.

About Us...............................................................................................1

Combining the transformative power of sport and a holistic approach to athlete well-being enables Special Olympics Australia to support a better life for people with an intellectual disability.

This spread: (From left to right) NSW athletes Kirsten Boesen, Tristan Grunsell and Kiyah Grunsell. Photo by Peter Muhlbock. Page 6: Sydney athlete Chris Bunton shows his strength at the 2010 National Games. The picture of him (inset) at the 2004 Junior National Games shows just how far he has come. Photos by WinkiPoP Media. Page 9: Special Olympics footballer, coach, volunteer and ambassador Ben Haack. Photo by Tony Stinson. Page 10: Sergeant Tracey York and Special Olympics athlete Therese Garton celebrate Run with the Law. Photo by Page 12: Sydney Hills athlete Jai Butler enjoys the Weet-Bix Sanitarium TRYathlon thanks to the support of the Bupa Troopas. Photos provided by Bupa. Page 14-15: Victorian athlete Kieran Johnson-Vickers celebrates another successful competition with his family. Photo by Peter Muhlbock.

Our Vision............................................................................................2 Our Values............................................................................................2 The Global Mission.............................................................................. 2 From the Chair.....................................................................................3 CEO’s Message...................................................................................3 National Strategy 2012-2015................................................................ 4 Our Strategic Framework.....................................................................5 - Advance Quality Sports and Competitions................................. 7 - Build Community Partnerships.................................................... 8 - Connect Fans and Funds.......................................................... 11 - Develop a Strong Leadership and Volunteer Culture................ 13 - Establish Sustainable Capabilities............................................ 15 We Will Measure Success................................................................. 17 Published by Special Olympics Australia April 2012. ABN 298 050 738 728, CFN 14503 Printed by Hogan Print,

… n i w win Let me t o n n a c But if I

We offer a welcoming environment where Australians with an intellectual disability are included, accepted and can enjoy the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. In 1968 Special Olympics was founded in the United States by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Since then, Special Olympics has grown from a small group of participants to 3.5 million athletes in more than 170 countries around the world. Special Olympics Australia was established in 1976 and caters for people with an intellectual disability – of all ages and abilities – in 53 regions across the country.

With approximately 24 full-time equivalent employees and over 3,000 registered volunteers across Australia, we are able to provide sports training every week of every year in one or more of the following sports: – Alpine Skiing – Aquatics – Athletics – Basketball – Bocce – Cricket – Equestrian – Figure Skating – Golf – Gymnastics – Sailing – Soccer (Football) – Softball – Snowboarding – Tennis – Tenpin Bowling.

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In addition, athletes have opportunities to participate in state and regional games each year, and national and international games every four years. Major events during the course of this national strategy include: – Special Olympics Trans Tasman Tournament 2012 Cairns QLD, Australia – Special Olympics Australia Junior National Games 2012 Newcastle NSW, Australia – Special Olympics World Winter Games 2013 PyeongChang, Republic of Korea – Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games 2013 Newcastle NSW, Australia – Special Olympics Australia National Games 2014 Melbourne VIC, Australia – Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015 Los Angeles, USA

s c i p m y l Special O Oath. e t e l Ath

Page 16-17: Ben Powell (NSW), Reuben Dau (NT) and Vincent Hall (Tasmania) celebrate the spirit of competition and friendship at the 2010 National Games. Photo by WinkiPoP Media. Back Cover: When Special Olympics swimmer, Katherine Mansour (Victoria) looked up at the scoreboard and saw she had swum a personal best time she couldn’t have been prouder. Photo by WinkiPoP Media.


Our Vision At Special Olympics Australia our vision is to: – Inspire communities to join us in bringing the joy and benefits of sport to more Australians with an intellectual disability. – Focus on quality sport, meaningful participation and competition. – Be widely recognised as the leader in the provision of sport and inclusive opportunities for people with an intellectual disability. – Be seen as an organisation that provides a platform for personal achievement that extends beyond the sporting arena, and brings a positive impact to the lives of Australians with an intellectual disability. – Build strong and mutually-beneficial partnerships, across multiple sectors of the community, to create maximum impact.

The Global Mission Our global mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with an intellectual disability, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Our Values Sportmanship with Joy – We believe in the transformative power of sport to change individual lives, families and society. – We embrace the purity of sport at all levels – for recreation, for competition, for a lifetime. – We witness inspiring personal triumphs that challenge stereotypes and assumptions.

Athlete Leadership – We position and empower athletes to be contributing and respected members of Special Olympics and the community. – We support athletes to be leaders on and off the field. – We believe that athletes inspire people at all levels of our organisation who, through their commitment, energy and contributions, form a powerful community to spread our mission.

Unity – We are united in our commitment towards inclusion, respect and dignity, and we value individual talents, views and unique cultural perspectives. – We build communities of acceptance: loving families, as well as inspired employees, coaches, volunteers and fans. – We are one team.

Strategy 2012-2015 In 2008, Special Olympics Australia embarked on our first four-year National Strategy. This is our strategy moving forward for the next four years and it is based on the platform of success built so far. Enjoy our stories and share our journey as we create opportunities that enable people with an intellectual disability to make choices, see possibility and ultimately reach their personal best.

From the Chair In 2008, Special Olympics Australia launched our first four-year National Strategy and I am pleased to say that at the end of this journey we have achieved all of our goals. Many of these goals were related to building strong foundations for the organisation and lifting our professionalism. With a focus on good governance and financial sustainability one of the key achievements of the organisation was to become one unified team with a common agenda. This is something that we will continue to value and promote. As we move into our next four-year strategic cycle it has placed us well to concentrate on and expand our core business which is to provide regular sport and quality competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability.

CEO’s Message Our aim is not just to get them active but to allow them to make friends, have fun and achieve their very best both on or off the sporting field.

When I took on the role of CEO of Special Olympics Australia in 2011 it was at the end of the first four-year strategy.

And we promise to be there for life.

It was a great time to join a great organisation. To come into a national program with such a strong foundation was very satisfying, but a steep learning curve.

I am proud that Special Olympics Australia caters to athletes of all abilities, of all ages and with various aspirations. With an Australian child diagnosed with an intellectual disability every two hours we have never been a ‘nice-to-have’ charity, we are essential. And we are unique in our market. Yet, while we are already the leader in promoting sport as a means of social inclusion for people with an intellectual disability we are not widely recognised, or financed, as such. This needs to change.

So, we have been ambitious in setting new goals with the key measure of our success in 2015 to have 10,000 athletes regularly training and competing with Special Olympics Australia.

So in the next four years we aspire to provide more opportunities for more people with an intellectual disability to participate in our sports program giving them choices and possibilities that they may never have imagined.

We will double that again to 20,000 athletes by 2020 showing our longterm commitment to meet the demand for our services as more and more people with an intellectual disability want to be able to access sport that suits their abilities, circumstances and life-stage, while also providing a network of support for their families.

Mark Streeting Chair, National Board Special Olympics Australia

I have now had the chance to work with our small team of staff and many fabulous volunteers, including the National Board who have helped shape our new National Strategy for the period 2012 – 2015. I am proud to have also contributed to this new strategy and I embrace the holistic approach that Special Olympics brings to the well-being of people with an intellectual disability. I strongly believe that all Australians should have opportunities to enjoy the benefits of sports participation, particularly those who face the greatest challenges in accessing sport. Our future is looking strong and I’m delighted to lead us forward. I am also excited that when we reach our goals more people with an intellectual disability will be on the way to fulfil their full potential. In 2015, there will be at least 10,000 smiling faces to help us celebrate our achievements. Gill Stapleton CEO, Special Olympics Australia

Bravery – We live the Special Olympics Athlete Oath: ‘Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ – We are resolute and resilient, celebrating personal achievements and best efforts without feeling any shame of failure. – We are fearless.

Perseverance – We are capable, tenacious, and resilient. We don’t give up on ourselves or each other. – We are relentless in the pursuit of our mission. – Together we display remarkable teamwork and break down barriers to create new opportunities.



National Strategy 2012-2015 The Facts In 2011, there were more than 400,000 Australians living with an intellectual disability (see Figure 1). Of those between the age of 8 and 65 years, more than 190,000 were identified as ‘able to participate in sport and recreational activities’. With an estimated non-participation rate of 64% our aim is to increase the reach of our movement so that more Australians living with an intellectual disability can choose to train and compete in an environment that suits their abilities. For those who face the highest barriers to sports participation, and

Persons (‘000)

Includes all persons that have an intellectual disability,1 but not necessarily as their main disability

may have little choice in how they can participate (like those who live in supported accommodation, have complex needs or face financial hardship), we will look at innovative ways to provide sports opportunities at times and places that allows those individuals to access sport.

Our challenge will be to continue to grow the younger segments of athletes (2 to 24 years) while retaining the older market segments (25 to 55 years) through diverse service offerings.

This is particularly important given the changing age composition of our athlete group.

Figure 1 - Sports Participation Rates for Individuals with an Intellectual Disability

As described in Figure 2, in 2009 an estimated 73% of eligible persons with an intellectual disability were aged between 25 and 55 years compared with 27% of eligible persons aged between 8 to 24 years.

Persons aged less than 8 years and more than 65 years have been excluded

Persons with a learning disability, ADHD, may have no intellectual impairment 2




121.0 23.9




The essence of our strategic framework is to encourage athletes to enjoy ‘the athlete experience’.

These are:

This is about celebrating – now and always – that athletes are at the centre of our work and the heart of our organisation.

1) ‘Intellectual Disability’ is defined as per the 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 2) Analysis of ADHD exclusion from ABS 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. 3) Participation rates are sourced for persons with a disability in general, not specifically an intellectual disability and averaged across all age groups.

n Mild or Moderate Limitations n Severe or Profound Limitations

Our Strategic Framework

Likely participation rates based on statistical data for persons with an intellectual disability participating in sport or recreational activities.3 Rates have been applied on26.3 severity of disability: – Profound/Severe Core Activity Limitation: 13.8% – Moderate/Mild Core Activity Limitation: 22.6%

Underpinned by the global mission and values of Special Olympics, the strategic framework is supported by three mission-driving principles that preserves our integrity and enables growth.

Both principles support the ‘athlete experience’ bringing together the core resources and capabilities to address our challenges. These principles are:

Principle 1: Advance Quality Sports and Competitions Principle 2: Build Community Partnerships

Principle 4: Develop a Strong Leadership and Volunteer Culture

Principle 3: Connect Fans and Funds There are two fundamental principles that act as enablers to the missiondriving principles, which prepare and build the fabric of the organisation and its infrastructure for success.

Principle 5: Establish Sustainable Capabilities

Giving people with an intellectual disability opportunity, choice and the possibility to reach their personal best through sport.


75.1 26.3 43.0

Persons with an Intellectual Disability

Age Exclusions

The Challenge As part of the global Special Olympics movement, Special Olympics Australia takes up the challenge to significantly increase the number of people with an intellectual disability participating in sport. In 2011, we supported over 5,000 Australian athletes, allowing them to enjoy weekly sport, recreational activities and regular competition. However, with high non-participation rates still evident, our challenge remains clear – to increase our reach. By 2015 our aim is to double the number of athletes participating in our


ADHD Exclusions

Eligible Persons with Intellectual Disability

programs to 10,000. By 2020 we will double that again to 20,000 athletes. We will do this by placing particular emphasis on residential growth corridors, supporting disadvantaged families and engaging isolated communities. At the same time we will increase our partnerships with other sports organisations, community and disability groups, government agencies, educational institutions and the corporate community. The 2020 target of 20,000 participating athletes is broadly in line with the target set by Special Olympics International who estimate our potential target market as 10% of 1% of the total population.

Likely sport/ recreation activity nonparticipation

Persons with Intellectual Disability who participate in sport/recreation activities

Develop a Strong


Figure 2 - Composition of Eligible Persons with an Intellectual Disability Excludes persons with ADHD. Sources: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2008 Disability in Australia: Intellectual Disability; ABS, 2009, Disability, Ageing and Carers Australia – Summary of Findings; ABS, 2011, Sports and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview – Participation by People with a Disability; Booz & Company Analysis.

60-64yrs: 16%

2-7yrs: 6% 8-14yrs: 10% 15-24yrs: 11%

56-59yrs: 14%

25-34yrs: 9% 45-55yrs: 21%

35-44yrs: 13%

Figure 3 - Strategic Framework 2012-2015


We Believe in Potential

Principle One:

Chris Bunton (pictured) began his journey with Special Olympics when he joined a mainstream kindergarten class. Until then, being different was not something that Chris had really been confronted with. But all of a sudden his head became filled with: You can’t join our team - you can’t do that you can’t be our friend.

Advance Quality Sports and Competitions

So when his parents, John and Halina stumbled across a local Special Olympics gymnastics program, they hoped this would give him a chance to make friends and improve his sports skills. Little did they know that it would open up avenues never thought possible. Through regular training, Chris became physically stronger and more confident. As he started to set and achieve new goals things began to change at school and he wasn’t so often excluded. When he was chosen to represent NSW at the first-ever Special Olympics Junior National Games in 2004, at the tender age of 12, he was on a road to success. ‘There were many stages when everything seemed impossible for Chris, but after training with Special Olympics and being selected to represent his state in gymnastics, things became possible,’ said his mum Halina.

Potential family, Outside of his dn’t di le op many pe to is hr C expect h. amount to muc e that It is this attitud test ea is of ten the gr s es cc barrier to su an ith w le for peop bility. intellectual disa cs Special Olympi k ea br to ts exis ier. down that barr

Chris is now a veteran competitor with the Junior National Games, National Games, Special Olympics World Summer Games and a swag of medals as part of his achievements. But for the Bunton family it’s not all about medals, it’s about Chris believing in himself and having opportunities to explore new possibilities. In 2010, his new determination saw him complete his HSC at a mainstream high school and he is now a trainee at a local gymnastics club where he is learning administration skills as well as coaching young gymnasts.

We pride ourselves on providing regular sport and quality competition to all people with an intellectual disability whether they want to take part in recreational activities, aspire to climb the competition ladder or seek opportunities outside of our program. We are already the national leader in promoting sport as a means of social inclusion for people with an intellectual disability and by 2015 we aim to be widely recognised as such.

Strategic Goals To advance quality sports and competitions we will: – provide athletes with more opportunities to participate in sport. – allow athletes to choose how they participate in sport by creating meaningful and positive partnerships with national and state sports organisations, as well as local sports clubs.

With a focus on planned competitions at regional, state, national and international levels and the delivery of timely competition calendars we will continue to provide regular and meaningful opportunities that also encourage further participation.

– plan robust calendars of sports competitions (for those athletes who wish to compete) that are challenging and fun, with the values and traditions of Olympic competition.

Hosting competitions with critical mass (eg. Olympic-type multi-sport events) and holding events in regional centres will result in better experiences for athletes and volunteers and extend our partnerships, improving the quality of competitions overall.

– continue to recognise that our coaches are integral to providing quality sports and competitions. By improving resources and professional development opportunities for coaches we aim to increase the number of coaches and ensure the quality of our service delivery.

Success will allow our participants to enjoy the best of sport, to the best of their ability, through the best sports opportunities for people with an intellectual disability in the country.

– improve competition management.

– develop and implement distinct models of operation that recognise and ease the challenges faced by people with an intellectual disability who may have difficulty accessing sport due to a range of factors including transport needs, personal care and financial hardship. – target people with an intellectual disability under 15 years of age who are the athletes of the future. – raise awareness of our position in the sporting landscape.

Strategic Initiatives To achieve these goals we will: – continue to promote inclusive sports opportunities – plan and implement additional quality competition pathways – monitor the impact of fees as a barrier to participation – develop a strong framework to enhance coaching quality – develop and introduce a transport plan – launch the Young Athletes program – create positive partnerships with national and state sports organisations, as well as local clubs.

While Chris chooses to train with Special Olympics and looks forward to future competition, he’s also studying acting at NIDA and training with a mainstream swimming squad to build strength for his rigorous gymnastics regime. Chris summed up his experience with Special Olympics by saying, ‘Special Olympics lets me show my ability, not my disability. It’s helped me make friends, feel strong and be proud.’ When asked what he’d say if someone now told him ‘you can’t’. Chris simply said, ‘I’ll tell them just let me try.’


Figure 4 - Advance Quality Sports and Competitions *Community Sports Link brings sport to people with an intellectual disability who are unable to access it of their own accord.


Principle Two:

We Believe in Choice

Build Community Partnerships

Queensland athlete, Ben Haack (pictured) is living proof that through sport and an holistic approach to athlete well-being, Special Olympics can help people with an intellectual disability reach their personal best in many aspects of their lives.

Ben has also been elected to the National Board of Special Olympics Australia where he wants to, ‘help change the equation for people with an intellectual disability so that they can have more choices in how they live their lives.’

As a young boy, Ben was encouraged to play sport, and while he tried a number of mainstream competitions, he just never fitted in. It wasn’t until he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 17 and discovered Special Olympics that he finally found a place to belong.

According to Ben, ‘Sport is the best tool to promote better health and social inclusion, as well as help people move away from the welfare mentality that is often associated with disability.’

Our holistic approach to athlete wellbeing includes the provision of health, leadership and youth initiatives.

Strategic Goals

By working in partnership with those in disability services, sport, healthcare, education, employment, government, community groups and the corporate community we will enhance existing programs and support the development of new programs that enrich the physical, social and intellectual development of participants.

– implement more structured programs to engage the wider community, maximise our impact and create mutually-beneficial outcomes.

Partnerships will also help us share the benefits of Special Olympics with the broader community. This is a win-win outcome that enables people with an intellectual disability to enjoy the benefits of sports participation while inspiring and engaging the community through volunteering and partnership opportunities. Figure 5 - The Impact of Special Olympics Australia Figure 5 represents the contribution of community partnerships to the holistic program of Special Olympics Australia.

To build community partnerships we will:

– engage volunteer health professionals in every state and territory to provide a range of health screenings to our athletes while developing their professional experience in health provision for people with disability. –

engage universities and other partners to develop their professional skills and experience in the area of disability through support for Athlete Leadership Programs.

– expand and enhance our relationships with disability service providers, who may or may not understand the benefits of our program, to ensure that more people with an intellectual disability can enjoy sport and fulfil their potential. Community Sports Link will be one of the key vehicles in this area.

– connect Special Olympics athletes with people in local communities, mainstream sports clubs and the corporate sector so they can participate together in meaningful sporting activities, particularly in remote areas where there are multiple barriers to sports participation. The Unified Sports program will be one of our key vehicles in this area. – commission pro-bono research to substantially demonstrate that involvement in Special Olympics Australia reduces the impact on government resources. – actively seek to engage people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with an intellectual disability.

Strategic Initiatives To achieve these goals we will: – further develop relationships with disability service providers – obtain funding from health organisations and Special Olympics International to enhance the Healthy Athletes program

According to his mum Cheryl, who is a dedicated volunteer with the program, ‘Special Olympics helped Ben move from a depressed teenager to a proud young man. I can honestly say that it was only when we discovered Special Olympics that Ben’s life truly began.’

‘By being able to take pride in myself, my life has improved in so many ways. I now have a sense of possibility. I am able to set new goals and achieve them, because I finally have opportunities and the support to try,’ he said.

At 29, Ben is now an inspirational athlete who has represented Australia in football and cricket. He’s also a respected employee with Gold Coast Recreation & Sport, a volunteer coach with his local Special Olympics program and a passionate advocate for people with an intellectual disability, regularly sharing his story with corporate, community and disability groups.

– establish clinical health directors in four disciplines in every state and territory to deliver regular health screenings at state games – develop university-led Athlete Leadership Programs – secure corporate assistance for Athlete Leadership Programs – strengthen existing and initiate new structured relationships with departments of education to engage the athletes of the future – enhance awareness of the benefits of Special Olympics to school authorities – develop and trial Unified Sports in remote regions of Australia – execute a promotional campaign outlining the benefits of Special Olympics to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities, as well as those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.


Choice ote st tool to prom ‘Sport is the be ion us cl in al d soci better health an l ua ct lle te in an for people with l as help change el w as y, lit bi disa n tality that is of te the welfare men ’ y. lit disabi associated with cs athlete Special Olympi Ben Haack


Community ‘Special Olympics is a tremendous initiative that organises a variety of spor ting events for people with an ity intellectual disability. It’s an opportun t for them to improve their fitness, mee ties abili their new friends, recognise of and build self- esteem. I’m very proud nd behi get to inue cont who ers the offic of this cause. They have a great sense d.’ prou very be community and should NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione

We Engage the Community

Principle Three:

For over 30 years law enforcement officers from around the world have been raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics through the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (LETR).

Connect Fans and Funds

At its most basic level, the Torch Run is a running event in which officers and athletes carry the Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremony of a local Special Olympics competition. At its most fully developed, the Torch Run initiative encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles and in 2011 law enforcement officers raised a record $42.6 million worldwide to support 3.5 million athletes in more than 170 countries. In Australia, each Torch Run is an event celebrated by athletes and families, while increasing community awareness for our cause. In 2010, a new initiative – Run With The Law – added a fundraising component to the program to support regional Special Olympics programs. Through workplace-giving programs and other events like annual Plane Pulls, law enforcement officers continue to create fans and raise funds for our program.

By connecting fans and funds Special Olympics Australia will encourage sustainable partnerships that can deliver ongoing finances to support the local, state and national organisation to provide sport for people with an intellectual disability.

Strategic Goals

Strategic Initiatives

To connect fans and funds we will:

To achieve these goals we will:

– continue to review and pursue diverse streams of income, recognising that funding is a challenge in this economic climate.

– develop new funding partnerships

Special Olympics Australia will be more effective and innovative in marketing and fundraising for the organisation and will engage corporate groups, governments, foundations and individuals by:

– strengthen current government funding (which increased over the period of the last strategy) and improve the contribution of new government departments at national, state and local levels.

– promoting our shared values

– continue to host quality, innovative events that are enjoyable and raise awareness and funds for people with an intellectual disability.

– translating communications into strategic storytelling – turning passive support into fan engagement – converting community support into collaborative and breakthrough fundraising.

We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies and look forward to using this model to welcome new partners and inspire new initiatives.

Figure 6 - Connecting Fans and Funds Through Education and Awareness

– strengthen and enhance our partnership with the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) across all states and territories. – target capital investments through the Special Olympics Australia Foundation to provide a sustainable, unrestricted income stream. – establish benchmarks to measure awareness and create community engagement so that 15% of the adult population recognises our brand by 2015.

– increase donations – continue to host quality fundraising and networking events – increase corporate funding – create sustainable partnerships with sustainable funding – partner with federal and state governments across disability, education and health sectors, to fund the delivery of competition and program initiatives – increase funds generated from Special Olympics regional and local government partnerships – secure the fundraising ability of Special Olympics Australia at national, state and local levels – establish a clear partnership development plan for all national and state partners in order to improve the efficiency of our account management – attract, engage and retain partners, supporters and fans – create clear marketing and creative plans to support engagement, awareness and activation – build a local supporters base for each of our accredited local Special Olympics regions through web pages, improving communications and local donor fundraising – engage sporting heroes and celebrities for each of our sports and key programs – engage and connect our partners and staff with Special Olympics programs, competitions and events.



We Develop Opportunities Bupa, one of Australia’s leading healthcare groups, has teamed up with Special Olympics Australia to encourage their staff to volunteer at Special Two stories available. One column each. Olympics events. And it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Corporate volunteers allow Special Olympics Australia to provide more opportunities for people with an intellectual disability to participate in sport and in turn they are inspired by our athletes and proud to make a worthwhile contribution to the community. According to Bupa’s Health and Wellness Ambassador and Ironman, Guy Leech, Special Olympics and Bupa are truly aligned in our purpose of helping Australians live longer, healthier, happier lives. Through the Bupa Heroes program, Bupa’s employees experience volunteering firsthand with Special Olympics. It validates the positive impact of health promotion and physical activity on individuals and the wider community. In 2012, our partnership developed further when Bupa decided to fund and directly support 100 children with an intellectual disability to participate in the Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon, a series of events where 7–15-year-olds are able to participate in a swim, cycle and run leg, with all athletes receiving a medal for their efforts. Thanks to the support of Bupa volunteers and slightly modified competition rules, Special Olympics athletes were actively encouraged to be part of the fun for the first time. Special Olympics athlete Jai Butler (pictured) competed at the event at Sydney Olympic Park, NSW and was excited about being involved. ‘I haven’t done this before. It was really fun,’ he said. Jai’s mum, also praised the event. ‘It’s not often that athletes with an intellectual disability are able to join children who don’t have a disability at a major event. This is a wonderful opportunity and I am delighted that Special Olympics is able to work with partners to directly offer children like Jai new experiences. Who knows, he might just try it on his own next year!’ By building our network of corporate volunteers, Special Olympics hopes to bring many new opportunities to athletes with an intellectual disability, while allowing the corporate community to share the joy of Special Olympics and see the benefits of their support.


Develop a Strong Leadership and Volunteer Culture By working as a unified organisation and understanding what makes us successful we will continue to foster a strong leadership and volunteer culture. By 2015, Special Olympics Australia will be working to a common agenda with a thorough understanding of how to leverage the leadership and passion of the people already in our organisation while continuing to attract new talent. By fostering a culture founded in leadership and volunteering we encourage people to give freely of their time, ensure that our organisation is attractive to be a part of, and align our mission with our actions. Supported by individual local planning efforts we will continue to ‘raise the bar’ in everything that we do.

Strategic Goals To develop a strong leadership and volunteer culture we recognise that: – good leadership makes great programs so we will continue to identify and recruit the best talent for our leadership roles on national and state boards. – regions need local leaders and through our network of state offices we will provide assistance to regional committees to administer their programs and enjoy their experiences. – volunteers are vital to every part of Special Olympics Australia, so we will create innovative programs supported by clear management processes and customised technology to expand our footprint of delivering sports to people with an intellectual disability.

– corporate social responsibility is a core value of today’s corporate community, so we will create a culture that engages corporate volunteers in meaningful activities with athletes, while adhering to our social policies. – many of our existing volunteers have dedicated themselves to the organisation over many years, so to ensure the longevity and diversity of our volunteer base we will promote volunteer opportunities to youth, the corporate sector and those outside of the immediate family network of athletes. – volunteers wear many hats, so we will structure our local regions and clubs to provide greater support to our volunteers and avoid ‘burn out’. – we need to continue to celebrate our volunteers.

Strategic Initiatives To achieve these goals we will:



By buildin g Special O our network of co rporate v lympics h olunteers o opportun , ities to ath pes to bring man y new letes with while allo wing the an intelle corporate ctual disa the joy of bility, co S of their s pecial Olympics a mmunity to share upport. nd see th e benefits

– develop succession plans and promptly address vacancies on national and state boards, as well as regional committees – ensure regional positions are filled with people suited to and committed to their roles – encourage a volunteer culture that is focused on delivering our mission – implement a targeted program for corporate volunteers – support existing volunteers – encourage a culture where each volunteer role is filled by a separate individual – strengthen relationships with schools and the tertiary sector – leverage and develop relationships to reach out to young people.


We Create Possibility Special Olympics is a family affair for the Johnson-Vickers. Since Kieran joined the local Special Olympics swimming program over eight years ago the family have regularly come together to cheer him on in competition. His sister, Belinda is also a volunteer coach working with Kieran at the local pool where he can be found training with his friends at least five days a week. For the family, there have been many highlights of being involved in Special Olympics. Kieran’s mum Cheryl has been able to connect with other parents who have a child with an intellectual disability and the entire family are very proud that through sport Kieran has been able to develop new skills and a sense of self-confidence.

‘Life wouldn’t be the same without Special Olympics. As a family it is something that we can all enjoy together and we’re amazed at the opportunities that the program is able to provide, considering that Special Olympics is a not-for-profit organisation,’ said Belinda.

‘I’d like to think that if Special Olympics Australia had extra funding and increased subsidies for athletes that more families would be able to enjoy watching a family member achieve things that others may have thought impossible,’ Belinda said.

In 2011, these opportunities saw Kieran compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens and the family were always going to be there to support him, but it came at a cost.

Establishing sustainable finances and capabilities will help Special Olympics Australia to ensure athletes and their families continue to have opportunities to share the joy of sport and the thrill of achievement.

‘It cost us a lot of money to get to Athens and we are just very thankful that Kieran’s old school were able to finance his trip and that as a family we worked together to make it happen.’

‘Kieran is my other half and I always want to see him compete and checking out his muscles in the marshalling area! Our family is already saving for his next trip, as will many other families who want to share the Special Olympics journey,’ Belinda concluded.

Possibility ‘I’d like to think that if Special Olympics Australia had extra funding and increased subsidies for athletes that more families would be able to enjoy watching a family member achieve things that others may have thought impossible.’

Establish Sustainable Capabilities Establishing sustainable capabilities is central to the delivery of quality services and growth in athlete numbers.

Strategic Goals

Strategic Initiatives

To establish sustainable capabilities we will:

To achieve these goals we will:

Through clear processes, appropriate technology and infrastructure, factbased decision making and a supportive culture we will assist our leaders and volunteers to deliver our mission.

– remind ourselves that we are a unified organisation and significantly increase our professional effectiveness through common procedures, processes and systems to keep administration costs at 10% of total revenue.

In addition, our annual budgets and operating plans will be cohesive, appropriate governance will be applied and succession planning implemented to reduce ‘knowledge drain’ on the organisation. We will focus not just on what we do, but how we do it, and we will measure our impact at multiple levels.

– create channels to share information and resources with athletes, volunteers and families in a user-friendly format. – continue to improve our technology and leverage existing systems to achieve best practice in stakeholder management and communication. – prioritise the financial sustainability of the organisation.

– develop user-friendly financial systems to improve accountability and transparency in financial management – use research to support key messages and plans – maintain excellence in organisational governance – establish a customer relationship management (CRM) system – manage and improve the content and communication of member information – continue to implement policies and procedures in areas not currently covered – maintain annual labour costs so that they do not exceed 35% of total annual operating costs for the period of 2012 to 2015.

Kieran’s sister Belinda



We Will Measure Success 1. Advance quality sports and competitions. 2. Build community partnerships. 3. Connect fans and funds. 4. Develop a strong leadership and volunteer culture. 5. Establish sustainable capabilities.

Overall success for Special Olympics Australia in 2015 will have the following outcomes. – 10,000 Australians with an intellectual disability will be actively engaged in sports training and competition through our programs. – Major disability service providers and national, state and local sporting organisations will actively engage with Special Olympics Australia to provide sporting opportunities for people with an intellectual disability. – Special Olympics Australia will have a core group of health professionals supporting athletes to lead more productive and healthy lives through the Healthy Athletes program. – Athlete Leadership Programs will be operational in all states and territories with 400 athletes having completed training. – We will have diverse streams of sustainable income with 75% of revenue from non-government sources. –

Funding from corporate partnerships, donations from corporate individuals, corporate support for fundraising events and sponsorship will have grown from 5% to 20% of total revenue (national and state income combined).

– Special Olympics Australia will have a strong volunteer and leadership culture that attracts talented individuals and retains leaders across all levels of the organisation. – We will have increased the number of registered volunteers from 3,000 to 4,500. Half of these new volunteers will be from the corporate sector or individuals unrelated to an athlete. – Community recognition and awareness of Special Olympics Australia will increase over the strategy period.


– Annual labour costs will not exceed 35% of total annual operating costs over the strategy period.


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Special Olympics Australia | PO Box 62, Concord West NSW 2138 Level 1, Sports House, 6A Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127 Gold Partner

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National Strategy 2012-2015_Lores  

Our Future National Strategy 2012-2015 Australia With approximately 24 full-time equivalent employees and over 3,000 registered volunteers a...