News

2017-2018 Coaches’ Guide Now Available

We are pleased to inform you that the 2017-2018 Coaches’ Guide is completed and available on our website. The updated guide is an easy to use, comprehensive resource for delegation managers and coaches.

The 2017-2018 Coaches’ Guide was updated in July 2017 and is good for one year. This version of the guide contains important updates on policies and forms. All changes are highlighted in blue in the guide.

See the Coaches’ Guide

For more information, contact:
Sally Briggs, Program Administrative Assistant
515-986-5520

 

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New FIS Helmet Regulations

From Special Olympics North America: 

Special Olympics values the safety of all athletes and their use of appropriate protective equipment. This memo is to advise Special Olympics Programs on new FIS standards for alpine ski helmets.

In order to improve safety, the USSA Alpine Sports Committee has confirmed that the regulations requiring the use of helmets for Giant Slalom, Super-G and Downhill that meet new FIS standards will be mandatory for all competitors in the 2016-2017 season. Special Olympics Sports recently adopted these requirements.

The new FIS helmet certification standards will be phased In during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons. (USSA “Ski Helmet Regulations” are available on the USSA web site at http://ussa.org/alpine-programs/masters/rules).

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Meet Team Iowa! 2018 USA Games Participants Announced

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Special Olympics Iowa is pleased to announce the 2018 Team Iowa members going to USA Games next year in Seattle! One year from now – July 1-6, 2018 – more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in Seattle to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers. The 2018 USA Games will showcase the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance.

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Meet New LETR Event Coordinator Mary Besler

Mary-Edit1Special Olympics Iowa is happy to announce the newest addition to the SOIA staff. Mary Besler joined the Law Enforcement Torch Run team in July as the new LETR Event Coordinator. Besler will work closely with law enforcement volunteers to organize fundraising events for SOIA.

Originally from Iowa City, Besler attended Ellsworth Community College her first two years of school and played volleyball before transferring and graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in May 2016 with a degree in public relations. Before coming to SOIA, Besler worked for the Iowa City Downtown District doing events and marketing.

Besler is excited to get started in her new role at SOIA. “I’m excited to be working for Special Olympics because I have always admired this organization and what it does. I love planning events, so I am thrilled to be doing that for Special Olympics.”

Welcome to the team, Mary!

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SOIA at the 2017 Iowa State Fair

Come join Special Olympics Iowa at the 2017 Iowa State Fair!

IMG_7517On Friday, August 18, SOIA will be co-hosting the second annual Adaptive Sports on the Grand Concourse day with our friends from Adaptive Sports Iowa and Courage League Sports. The day will consist of games of power soccer, wheelchair basketball and bocce as well as equipment demonstrations and program overviews. It will be a day to show how sports can be adaptive for inclusion so everyone can participate.

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Des Moines Register Honors SOIA Elite Athletes

636339487171694861-All-Iowa-Awards-Lee-85On Saturday, June 24th the Des Moines Register honored the 12 Special Olympics Iowa athletes they chose to be on the All-Iowa Elite Athletes Team for the year. The All-Iowa Elite team is made up of three male and three female athletes, as well as three pairs of Unified Sports partners.

Congratulations to the following winners from SOIA:

Isaac Baldus, Male Athlete of the Year
Madison Ebrecht, Female Athlete of the Year
Kaitlin Bockenstedt and Chloe Meyers, Unified Team of the Year

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Staff Column: SOIA Holds First Unified Champion Schools Youth Summit

By Bryan Coffey, Director of Unified Sports and Volunteers

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On June 5, 2017, Special Olympics Iowa hosted its first-ever Unified Champion Schools Youth Summit. This was an exciting opportunity for student youth leadership teams to interact with other student leaders from around the state of Iowa. Our main objective for the 2017 Youth Summit was to help students to excel in leadership roles within their schools.

Four Iowa high schools brought students to participate in this program. These schools each represented different regions of our state, which encouraged great conversations and learning opportunities. The schools were:

  • Ankeny Centennial High School (West Central Region)
  • Spencer High School (North Region)
  • Wayne Community High School ( South Central Region)
  • Western Dubuque High school ( East Region)

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Meet Wendy Olinger: New Director of Athlete Initiatives

Wendy2Special Olympics Iowa is excited to introduce its new Director of Athlete Initiatives, Wendy Olinger.

Wendy has been a supporter of Special Olympics for 23 years. She has served as a volunteer and coach in the areas of bowling, basketball, skiing, swimming, track/field, cheerleading, cycling, Challenge Days and golf. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where she studied special education. She also has a master’s degree in deaf education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before coming to SOIA, Olinger worked as a severe and profound special education teacher in Marshalltown, Iowa for 13 years. Olinger has also worked at various day camps and respite camps for individuals with disabilities across the state of Iowa.

As Director of Athlete Initiatives, Olinger will be responsible for Special Programs like Play Days, Challenge Days and Healthy Athletes. She will also be working closely with SOIA Global Messengers, helping them write speeches and be leaders in the community. 

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Athlete Competes in 2017 Principal Charity Classic

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For the third year in a row, Special Olympics Iowa athlete Brian Rolek was asked to take part in the Principal Charity Classic . On Tuesday, June 6 Rolek tee’d off for a fun round of golf with some special guests during the Pro-Am portion of the Classic. A Pro-Am takes place before the professional event and joins ordinary golfers on a team with a PGA Tour golfer. This year Rolek teamed up with pro Rod Spittle.

When he’s not golfing and participating in other SOIA sports, Rolek works full-time at the YMCA, enjoys hunting with his brothers, and often volunteers at Special Olympics fundraisers.

Rolek says he had a great time golfing at the event. Congratulations on a great day of golf, Brian!

 

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Special Olympics Founder to be Honored at The 2017 ESPYS

From Special Olympics North America

18920334_10156388605263782_4870732662088496858_nEunice Kennedy Shriver dedicated her life to championing the rights and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities. Her legacy lives on through Special Olympics, the global movement she founded in 1968 that harnesses the transformative power of sports to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and celebrated members of society.

A Visionary and a Revolutionary

To honor her work and her creation of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver will be posthumously honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 25th ESPYS Presented by Capital One on Wednesday, July 12.Timothy Shriver, one of Shriver’s five children and Chairman of Special Olympics, will accept the award on her behalf. The award is sponsored by Cadillac.

“My mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was a visionary, but, more importantly, a revolutionary,” said Timothy Shriver on behalf of the Shriver family and Special Olympics. “Fueled by love and anger, she used sport to break down the barriers, she used fields of play to bring people together, and she opened the doors of inclusion and equality to the most marginalized on Earth. It is now up to all of us to follow the athletes of Special Olympics who can teach us all to accept and include each other.”

Shriver grew up as a member of the Kennedy Family alongside her sister, Rosemary, who had intellectual disabilities. Rosemary’s talents and gifts made Shriver acutely aware of all that people with intellectual disabilities have to offer, but she recognized early on that there were limited programs and options for people like her sister. The pair bonded through sports like football, skiing and sailing, and Shriver appreciated the role sports play in unifying people from all walks of life.

The idea started in 1962 as Camp Shriver, as a summer day camp in the backyard of her Maryland farm. Camp Shriver grew and eventually evolved into Special Olympics, with the first International Special Olympics Games taking place in 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, welcoming 1,000 athletes from 26 states and Canada to compete. Today, Special Olympics is year-round, includes 5.3 million athletes in more than 170 countries, and over 1 million coaches and volunteers, delivering 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 108,000 competitions throughout the year. Read More

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