Marlene Enberg has been a trail blazer and advocate for the Norman Region within Special Olympics Manitoba. As a SOM volunteer for nearly five years, Marlene also responds to ‘Mom’ from both of her kids, and SOM twin athletes, William and Jemiha Hart (picture to the right). The twins became involved with SOM over ten years ago and have participated in a wide range of sports over the years including swimming, gymnastics, alpine skiing, figure skating and many more. Both William and Jemiha have reached great success through their journey as SOM athletes as they both have represented Team Manitoba, and William for Team Canada. In fact, Marlene shared extreme praise for William’s alpine ski coach, Scott Luxton, which she attributes to William’s achievements!
In 2016 when her kids were chosen for Team Manitoba, Marlene switched from a very involved parent to adding a new role; a fundraiser where she aspired to advance the club, held meetings, recruited coaches, and ultimately said “let’s see where we can go”! As an advocate for her kids, Marlene stated that she always “stuck her nose in places” she joked. Taking the step from parent to volunteer was simple, “I wanted to be involved and help the clubs that are helping my kids”, she shared. SOM brought Marlene out of her comfort zone, she had to do things in public, host meetings, make tough decisions, “it made me grow” she stressed. SOM has provided her kids with sporting experience that allows them to thrive, through the “very amazing coaches that care for the athletes”.
When asked her most memorable moment, Marlene was stumped because of the many special memories she has witnessed through her kid’s participation. After a few moments to consider, Marlene shared memories that brought her joy over the years. Including William competing in Newfoundland as a 13-year-old, against young men in figure skating, and seeing him perform all alone, “he was just beaming” she shared. Another memorable moment was when Jemiha won gold at the Manitoba Games and Marlene said she could “see the excitement on her face” while she was holding the Manitoba flag. While the last year has been challenging, Marlene shared that they have been making the most of it by walking the dog together, and she even takes part in the kids assigned workouts, which is just another testament to her role as an involved parent.
While SOM is grateful to have Marlene as an advocate for the Special Olympics athletes in her region, Marlene is just as thankful for the role of SOM in her kid’s lives, “Special O gives them their place”, she said. Marlene continued by stating that “I think it gives the child confidence, encourages them in building skills and broadens their social relationships”. Marlene evidently feels joy through her kid’s happiness, and that is why she has been such a proponent to the development of SOM within the Norman region.
Written by: Lexi Jocelyn, SOM Student Intern
“I know they can do anything that anyone else can do, and they have the heart to do it”, this was what Scott Luxton, Alpine Ski Coach in Special Olympic Manitoba’s (SOM) Norman Region, shared when asked what makes SOM so amazing. Scott grew up as a Special O athlete and once he ran into Marlene Enberg and found out that SOM was now in their region, Scott said it was an easy choice to get involved, nearly five years ago. Early in Scott’s life many people gave up on him, “people are so quick to judge”, Scott shared. There were people that helped him, and by coaching he feels like he is giving back to the people who helped him. Scott went on to explain that every kid needs to be coached to their level, “I listen to them, I am patient with them, I teach them individually in every aspect” Scott explained. That is exactly how he coaches William Hart, and his young skier Declan. “I faced many challenges growing up, but skiing was my passion, and now I am sharing that with my athletes” Scott mentioned.
As a full-time welder, and part-time coach, Scott is very busy. In saying that, Scott further explained that “coaching grows on you, the athletes grow on your heart, and I am helping them build skills for their future”. Scott started skiing at a very young age and reached great successes in the sport. In 1988 he earned his instructor licence and eventually ended up in Thompson, MB. He has now been skiing on the local, Mystery Mountain, for over 30 years. On top of his personal successes in the sport, Scott has led William to great achievements in Alpine Skiing, even though he stated, “it’s all William, he did it all”. Scott shared some special moments that he has experienced through SOM over the last five years. He was given a coaching jacket for SOM, and recently, he was asked to be William’s training coach to help prepare him for the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Russia. He went on to share that “it feels like what I have been doing has been validated, I am being accepted as one of the coaches”. Scott is a humble coach and many of the successes he shared had to do with seeing his athletes achieve their goals, which just attests to the modestly he portrays.
Undoubtably, Scott is all about his athletes and SOM gives these athletes their place to succeed and to be themselves. Scott went on to explain that he never gave up even when people didn’t believe in him, and all he wants to do is teach his athletes his passion for skiing, but also to never give up on themselves.
Written by: Lexi Jocelyn, SOM Student Intern