Articles from July 2016

Fall Into Fitness

The next FIT (Fitness Improvement Training) Program will begin September 12 andFIT-logo-vertical-203x300 run for 10 weeks, through November 18. “Fall into Fitness” is a Unified Sport Program and each team needs to have at least 20 percent of their team members as Unified Partners. Unified Partners can be family members, friends, peers, coaches and/or staff. We encourage communities coming together to walk together to improve their fitness levels.

SONA has provided a limited supply of Moveband activity trackers that will be able to automatically track the team members’ physical activity. The data from the Movebands, as well as data from Fitbit, Garmin and Jawbone can automatically be downloaded onto the Special Olympics Iowa site to assist in tracking your team’s physical activity data.


If interested in registering a team for “Fall into Fitness” please contact Bruce Wilson at or Gabrielle Magee at

Read More


Inclusion Graphic - Red (800x174)

You may have seen the above logo recently at Special Olympics Iowa events, on T-shirts or in newsletters. First launching during the 2016 Summer Games, SOIA’s INCLUSION logo was created to continue the conversation of opportunity for all, and to remind athletes, families and volunteers of the values Special Olympics was built on.

Of course, INCLUSION is not just a logo printed on a sweatshirt or posted on a flyer. It’s much more than just a word, too. It’s a theme. A theme that SOIA hopes will help spread our mission of giving athletes continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Because of this, the INCLUSION theme was built from the words that our athletes felt were important to them and described their experiences with Special Olympics. That’s why specific words appear in the letters of the INCLUSION logo.

Athletes are inspired by the sports they play and inspire others when they work hard and show dedication in everything they do. They find friendship and unity within SOIA. And that leads to finding courage and pride in their everyday lives. With the inclusion in SOIA sports and events, athletes find joy and ultimately acceptance. All of this can help transform attitudes and stigmas about what it means to have different abilities.

We encourage everyone to continue to practice the INCLUSION theme on and off the field, and to use our athletes’ words to promote inclusion for all.


Thank you from all of us at Special Olympics Iowa!

Read More

Staff Column: Volunteers Make SOIA Events like State Softball Possible

Often times while in a public setting when someone finds out that I work for Specialstaff-rhonda Olympics, I am asked “When is the Special Olympics?” This question always surprises me since we offer year-round sports competition and training. When answering the question, I generally say what sport season we are in. At this time of year I would say, “We are in the middle of our softball season right now. We just finished two softball skills competitions and three team conference tournaments. Our state tournament will be August 6 in Ankeny.” I then follow up with, “We offer 23 different sports and five special programs. Our athletes are then able to practice and participate all year long.”

Most people are amazed that Special Olympics events are held year round. It is because of our dedicated volunteers that we are able to offer over 80 area and state competitions not to mention frequent fundraising events. Volunteers are truly the mainstay of the Special Olympics organization. They fulfill a wide variety of positions including those involved with area management, coaching, chaperoning, competition planning and fundraising. Volunteers are committed to our Special Olympics athletes and want to provide them with numerous participation opportunities.

Read More

SOIA Featured as August Charity at Stuff Etc.

Stuff+logoSpecial Olympics Iowa’s West Central Area will be involved in a fundraiser at Stuff Etc. in Ankeny during the month of August.

Stuff Etc. is a quality consignment store with six locations around the state. Each month, the company selects a charity to support with an in-store fundraiser called “Charity Umbrella.” Customers can make a donation in the umbrellas hanging upside down over the checkouts.

The store sponsors a sale the first weekend of the month offering shoppers a discount on their purchases when they donate a dollar to the umbrella. Special Olympics Iowa-West Central Area is the charity that is being supported this August. During August 5-7 customers will receive a discount on all of their purchases if they donate a dollar to the umbrella at the Ankeny store location.

For more information visit Stuff Etc.’s website or contact West Central Area Director Debby Eldred at 515-229-7733 or email

Read More

Thank You, Norm Johnson!

The Special Olympics Iowa family would like to thank Norm Johnson for his service Johnson_Norm_09241963and dedication as the North Area Director for the state of Iowa. Norm will be moving into a position with the YMCA in Louisville, Kentucky after July 22.

Norm has been involved with Special Olympics in high school and college in both Iowa and South Dakota. He ran the very first powerlifting event for the South Dakota State Games and went on to coach the South Dakota delegation for the World Games in 1995 in New Haven, Connecticut.

There is a lot he will miss about working with SOIA. “Working with the athletes, and giving them a venue and platform to compete is the best. I also really enjoyed bringing our volunteers together to support the various activities, and seeing their genuine enthusiasm and support for the athletes,” he says.

With dedication to SOIA, athletes, parents and volunteers, Norm will be missed. SOIA wishes him the very best of luck in all his future endeavors. We know he will continue to promote the power of INCLUSION.

Norm and athletes

Read More