It’s been a couple of weeks since our Spring Games and we’re already in the midst of planning for our next Buncombe County Special Olympics engagements. We are thrilled (and relieved now that we’ve had the chance to recuperate) to be able to check another successful event off our calendar for 2016. Spring Games, our largest annual event, served over 500 athletes and used the assistance of some 1000 volunteers to make the day’s events come together. The games were held on May 5 at TC Roberson High School. Although the weather was unexpectedly cool and blustery, it didn’t hinder our athletes or the volunteers from turning out in full force ready for a day of camaraderie and competition.
Special Olympics athletes from across Buncombe County assembled for the Spring Games, which focus on track and field style competition. Events included the softball toss, long jump, relay, and foot races. Spring Games brings an adaptive experience offering events catered to each athlete’s individual needs with a range between development skill events and traditional track and field athletics. The games also feature a Young Athletes Program for athletes between ages 2 and 7 who are not yet old enough to participate in the competitive events.
During the downtime between events, athletes and their “buddies” visited the “Olympic Village” for a number of entertaining exhibits and activities including face painting, dancing, art projects, fresh strawberries and more! Athletes were treated to lunch courtesy of Chick-fil-A.
This annual event takes place each spring after many hours of planning and collaboration with volunteers, sponsors, and school staff. Spring Games is an important event within Buncombe County Special Olympics’ offerings as it creates an opportunity for those who may not participate in our year-round programming an opportunity to experience the themes of accomplishment and social connection that are such a vital component of our program. Spring Games are a tremendous labor of love and a huge logistical undertaking that takes the focus and dedication of the entire community to create a meaningful experience for our athletes. The work of such a large team of volunteers is vital to the success of the games which bring the over 500 athletes together for a large number of competitive events all within the span of 3-4 hours.
We would like to give a huge shout out of thanks to all the folks who helped make this event a success:
The Chaddick Foundation, TC Roberson High School (staff and students), the Progressive Education Program, Buncombe County Law Enforcement Torch Run Crew, Skyland Fire Department EMS, Buncombe County Commissioner Joe Belcher, ABLE Rent-A-Jon, Coca Cola Bottling Company, Pepsi Cola, Hard Exercise Works Gym, Care Solutions Mobility, Asheville Rotary Club West, Knights of Columbus, Tim Lolley, Bill Keel (Biltmore Baptist Youth Program), LEAF Community Arts, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department Crime Prevention, WNC Farmers Market, Carolina Pediatric Therapy, Fun Depot, Asheville Tourist Baseball, Texas Roadhouse, Char Bar No. 7, The Hop Ice Cream Café, Adams/Old Castle, Wild Wing Café, West End Bakery, Westville Pub, Standard Pizza Co., Pizza Hut, Target, Blush Asheville, Studio 828, the staff of Buncombe County Recreation Services and Grounds Maintenance, Chili’s Grill & Bar (Arden, NC), Party Blvd, and the many wonderful volunteers who donated their time to spend with athletes on this special day. We couldn’t have done it without you all!
Each year, we work to understand how we can improve and streamline Spring Games; the event is an ever evolving opportunity and we strive to continually enhance our offerings. If you participated and have not yet had a chance to provide your feedback, please do so. We are already working on Special Olympics Spring Games 2017, so if you are interested in volunteering to be part of this special day or if you are interested in coming on board as a sponsor let us know! Opportunities to get involved are as wide ranging and as flexible as your needs. Additionally, if you know of anyone who might benefit from the Buncombe County Special Olympics, please help us get them signed up!