By Lucie Roy
Morinville – Local seniors are knitting their way into the hearts of the athletes competing in the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games to be held in St. Albert and Jasper Feb.28 to March 3. “It is their way of being involved, of being active in the community,” said Mary Benson, Program Coordinator, Heritage Lodge.
The yarn has been supplied by Lynn Guenette of Garry’s Heating Services of St. Albert, one of the event’s many corporate sponsors. Guenette provides yarn to the Northern Alberta area and contacted the Sturgeon Foundation seniors lodges, schools and other organizations. She brings yarn to the lodges and even ordered some from the United States to obtain the right colour blue. The specific colours include Olympic blue with a red and white colour incorporated in the scarf. The scarves may be knitted or crocheted.
Benson said Heritage Lodge residents were introduced to the project just before Christmas. The residents have been working hard ever since. Pat Allen got extremely excited with the challenge and completed two scarves within two weeks and is working on her third. Helen Koban said she was determined to complete her scarf, a challenge she has undertaken with much love and commitment to succeed and do her part. Zoraida Barton-Cottle has been knitting her scarf with an old fashioned stitch she said makes the scarf feel extra thick and to keep the recipient extra warm. Every scarf is accompanied with a letter. Paula Nolte finished her first scarf and in her letter included the message, “I adore your perseverance, stay steadfast- May God Bless you Always.”
The seniors have been so active Benson had to travel to St. Albert Dec. 23 to get more yarn so the ladies would not run out during the holidays. The women working on the scarves go to Benson’s office at least once a day to use the yardstick to measure their scarves. They must be made to measure seven inches wide and six feet long. Benson said other residents are also working on the scarf project.
More than 650 Special Olympics athletes will be competing in St. Albert and Jasper and the goal is to have people make 2,500 hand-made scarves by the beginning of February. They will be presented to the athletes, their families and supporters, coaches and volunteers. The Scarf Project “Made With Love – Worn With Pride,” is a way of showing support by hand-knitting or crocheting a scarf that the recipients can keep as a treasured keepsake during and after the games.
Once completed the scarves can be mailed or dropped off in St. Albert at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Office or at three Edmonton locations. The scarves are akin to the red mittens worn at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.