BONAVENTURE LANES CHALLENGE LEAGUE
ONTARIO SPECIAL OLYMPICS

For the past 18 years, Claude and his wife, Sue Poitras, shown on the left, have been involved in the Bonaventure Lanes Challenge League for the Ontario Special Olympics. They are shown here with Roy St. Jacques, 2nd from the right, one of the bowlers in the league, and Brenda Malley, one of the coaches and organizers of the league.

The 35 bowlers who participated in the Tuesday Night League during the 2005-2006 season gathered for their Annual Year-End Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 13, 2006 at the Lions Den in Hanmer. Ranging in age from 12 to 67, all bowlers were treated to a great dinner with food donated by Desjardins' Food Basics and then received individual and team awards.

Several area high school students were also on hand to help out with the banquet. Shown above in the photo with Claude are, from the left: David Matheson (Confederation), Kelly Weiler (Marymount Academy), Claude Poitras; Hope Turpin (Marymount Academy); and Eric Rajotte (Confederation). Crouching in front is Richard Godin (Champlain).

All of the students helped out during the year as part of their Community Volunteer Program, but as indicted by Claude, "They all earned far more hours than they needed, but all wanted to remain with us for the entire year. They loved helping out with the bowlers and were absolutely fantastic."

The League has been in operation for over 22 years. While not the original founder, early on in its history, a lady by the name of Carol Lingard, who died of cancer, made a dying request to Rick Reist that he keep the league going. And the rest is history.

Claude Poitras, who has been the Head Coach for the past four years, indicates that he sees himself and his wife, Sue, continuing the League until, "I can no longer breathe. It is such a rewarding experience to see the fun that these bowlers have every Tuesday Night, and they all look forward to the banquet every year."

Claude also stated that he has never refused anyone who wants to participate in the league. While most of the bowlers are mentally or emotionally challenged, some also have physical impairments. However, thanks to a special device which was provided by CANUN International, a company operating out of the Valley East Industrial Park, bowlers who are confined to wheelchairs can also bowl with the rest of the group.

Anyone interested in registering for the League for the 2006-2007 season can just call Claude for more information at 969-5981. The League starts the first Tuesday after the September long weekend and finishes at the end of April, a total of about 33 weeks.

Every Tuesday the group gathers at Bonaventure Lanes at 6:30 p.m. The bowl one game and then have a fifteen minute break for snacks and refreshments before bowling the second game. Everything is over by about 8:30 p.m.

 

Roy St. Jacques was featured in a story earlier this year (you can read the story by going to the following link >>>>). All year long the bowlers collect pop cans and refundable bottles. The proceeds are used by the league to help pay for the banquet. Roy, who is know in these circles as the "Pop Can Man" was responsible for collecting the largest number of cans. In all, over 400,000 cans, weighing in at over 7 tons were collected.

"Roy will collect cans about four or five days a week, and then he comes over to my place to help me crush them," explained Claude. "He is remarkable." 

Indeed, the day after the Annual Banquet, Roy was back out, walking from door to door collecting cans for next year.

This year each of the participants were presented with their own Special Olympics Jacket thanks to the money raised by the pop can collection.

 
 

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