UNIVERSITY CENTER - The Saginaw Valley State University women's swimming & diving program offered a helping hand this past weekend, volunteering their time at the 8th-Annual Area 22 Special Olympics Spring Games, held at SVSU. SVSU volunteers organized the games for Special Olympics RSO and local high schools were present as one-to-one volunteers and event workers for the nearly 400 athletes taking part in the games.
Athletes competed in track and field events, aquatic events, wheelchair events and developmental events from 10:00 – 2:00 on Friday, April 17. Families, friends, and community members are welcome to attend. The games began with an opening ceremony at 10:00 with a parade of dignitaries. New this year, the SVSU Women's Swimming and Diving team helped organize and run the Aquatic events to ensure a smooth and efficient event.
In addition to the competition, there were arts and crafts for athletes to try. Adapted physical education students and Occupational Therapy students directed a motor game in the Cardinal Gym and racquetball courts. The Lions Club members conducted KidSight eye screenings, and Runners of Saginaw conducted foot and gait analysis.
Special Olympics is an international organization that provides year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Athletes develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy while participating in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship among their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community. Athletes achieve their dreams with the support of caring volunteers, coaches, family members, and staff.
SVSU continues to be a great supporter of Special Olympics. In 2014, Area 22 was the Battle of the Valleys charity, receiving $25,000.
Also new this year was the final meeting of the year for the Young Athletes program, a program for those not yet old enough to be Special Olympic athletes. These 2 through 7 year olds have been meeting twice a month since September to learning basic skills, how to get along with others, and the joy of movement.