Volunteers needed for Special Olympics competition at Penn State

University Park, Pa. -- From June 10 to 12, more than 2,500 Special Olympians and coaches will convene at Penn State’s University Park campus for the annual Summer Games of the Special Olympics. Preparation for the four-day event begins days before the athletes arrive, and volunteers are now being enlisted to help with dozens of pregame activities.

“The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games could not happen without thousands of local volunteers who pitch in each year to manage the Olympic Village, time events, plan award ceremonies and guide athletes,” said Craig Weidemann, vice president for Penn State Outreach and a member of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Board. “Each year I hear from volunteers who are inspired by the enthusiasm, sportsmanship and dedication of the Special Olympics athletes.”

The largest event of the year for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, the games begin with athlete arrivals and opening ceremonies on Thursday, June 10, and end with buses heading home the evening of Saturday, June 12. Athletes from all over Pennsylvania will enjoy three days of intense competition in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis at University Park venues and locations throughout the region.

Volunteers are needed from June 7 to 14, to serve in many capacities: competition officials, bowling lane monitors, athlete escorts, assistants for athlete evaluators, and award presenters. Volunteers also help by making beds, driving water trucks and in various other ways. Those who register early may request assignments and families may register together for certain activities.

Again in 2010, Summer Games coordinators also are seeking safety and security operations staff to provide a point of contact for communications between the athletes, coaches and spectators and the Special Olympics staff in case of medical emergencies, lost athletes or general information. Safety and security operations volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and be able to remain calm and relay accurate information in the case of emergency situations.

Volunteer registration is available now at http://www.sopasummergames.org online. Groups interested in volunteering should contact Jeff Smith at jjs27@outreach.psu.edu.

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Last Updated May 12, 2011