Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Adams County Team Joins Gettysburg College Student-Athletes for Fit Fest

On October, 25, 2015, approximately 150 Gettysburg College student-athletes welcomed dozens of Special Olympics Pennsylvania -Adams County athletes to The Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness for a fun-filled night of exercise and nutrition called "Fit Fest."

All the athletes from both Special Olympics and Gettysburg were divided into groups which rotated between six different stations designed to inform and demonstrate proper skills concerning physical and nutritional activities. The stations included speed and agility, yoga and stretching, lifting, nutrition, Zumba, and heart rate. The overall mood was uplifting and exciting, and athletes from both sides shared stories and laughs as the evening progressed.

The entire night was designed not only to teach the Special Olympics athletes about better health, but to serve as a unifying experience for all participants. This message is a key part of the foundation of the NCAA Division III SAAC and Special Olympics partnership which began over four years ago.

Click here to read the full Gettysburg College article.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bucks County Flag Football Scrimmage: Fairless Hills vs. Quakertown

Bucks County made Special Olympics Pennsylvania history on Saturday, October 24, 2015 by holding the first Flag Football scrimmage in the county, and certainly one of the first in the state.  Head Coach Harry Schmidtt of Quakertown hosted Coach Rob Caywood and the Brave Bucks of Fairless Hills in the morning match-up.

Flag Football Sports Director, Kathy Adkins, is thrilled that Bucks County has launched this new and emerging sport.  All of the athletes agreed that it was amazing to have this opportunity after weeks of training.

Many other Special Olympics counties have started training this fall, and will receive the opportunity to compete during the first Regional Invitational on November14th at the Newtown Athletic Club.

Let us know how your Flag Football start-up is going by contacting Kathy Reilly Adkins at kathy.r.adkins@gmail.com.  We want to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Montgomery County Athletes Play Unified

Fourteen LaSalle College High School rowing team members joined members from Special Olympics Pennsylvania – Montgomery County’s cross country team for the Springfield Township Community Day and 5K Race on Sunday, October 11, 2015.

The LaSalle College students’ enthusiastic support of their partners made a difference especially for several Special Olympics athletes who had never competed in the 5K distance before. The race organizers were pleased to support both teams, waived the entry fees, and also provided medals for all of the athletes.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First U.S. Tennis Association SOPA Tournament

On Saturday, August 8, 2015, twenty-four athletes from Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties competed in the first U.S. Tennis Association Special Olympics Pennsylvania Tournament at Hempfield Area Recreation Center in Landisville, PA. In a collaboration between Tennis Central, Special Olympics Pennsylvania and USTA Middle States,the athletes competed across three divisions in round-robin format, with players matched up by age and skill level.  Above Photo Credit: Dan Marschka/Lancaster Online.

A championship round was played in the Stadium court to determine the winners of the open division.  Awards were then given out for all the divisions for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, and participation ribbons were awarded.  Participants also received backpacks, ear buds, and t-shirts courtesy of the USTA Middle States.
Following the round robin matches, sandwiches, snacks foods, water and Gatorade were provided.  

To view images from the Tournament, visit USTA’s Facebook page or view the Lancaster Online news article.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Home Community Honors Special Olympics World Games Athlete

Amanda Swazey’s home community of Selinsgrove welcomed her home with a hero`s reception after she won two medals in the Special Olympics World Summer Games. She was honored at one of the summer concerts at a park in the borough, and her employer Weis Markets provided her with a congratulatory cake, flowers, entrance sign and outdoor banner!  Way to Go!  

Click here to read the Channel 16 news story.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Interscholastic Unified Soccer Team Wins 2nd MLS Exchange

On Saturday, August 1, 2015, members of our Interscholastic Unified Sports soccer team played against a New Jersey team of players from Rowan University’s Special Olympics College unified group at PPL Park prior to the Philadelphia Union game vs. New York Red Bulls.  Students from Martin Luther King and Chester High Schools received Union jerseys with their last name on the back, shorts and socks.

Throughout the game, some Philadelphia Union members came to wish our team luck including midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin, forward Andrew Wenger, defender Raymond Lee, goalkeeper John McCarthy, and manager Jim Curtin. With high fives all around, our team was ready to play! Our Unified Philadelphia Union team looked great on the field. In a very exciting on field experience, our players walked away victorious 4-2 over New Jersey.

After the Exchange Game, our Philadelphia athletes and partners were able to enjoy the Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls game. During halftime, both Unified teams were brought on the field one last time to be awarded their medals. Sons of Ben (Philadelphia Union’s fan club) gave both Unified Teams roaring applause and support as the athletes and partners received their awards. Following the Union/Red Bulls game, both exchange teams and their families were invited to a reception before heading home.

Philadelphia Union’s Hometown Hero

Prior to the kickoff of the highly anticipated Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls match at PPL Park, Myra Ausberry was awarded the Hometown Hero Award.  The Hometown Hero Award recognizes those men and women who have made a difference in the lives of others. These heroes are ordinary people that have made an extraordinary impact through their service, dedication, knowledge and spirit. The Philadelphia Union looks to salute those heroes who have inspired people to improve the lives of their cities, towns, communities and neighbors.  Traditional values of teamwork, effort, accountability, trust and selflessness are the cornerstones of Philadelphia Union’s Hometown Heroes.

Myra Ausberry has volunteered countless hours as a coach to athletes in some of the most under served areas of the city for Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia program. She ensures that those she engages with know about the opportunities available through Special Olympics, and provides resources and personal support to them wherever needed. The energy that Myra brings to her role as a coach is contagious.  It is easy to see why the athletes and families enjoy being around her.

Myra’s support and commitment to her sports teams every season has not gone unnoticed.  She has personally helped athletes compete on both the local and national level.  In addition, her passion for Special Olympics goes beyond the seven sports she is certified to coach within the community program. She is also an active supporter of the Unified Sports program and is particularly known for her current coaching position with the Martin Luther King High School Unified Soccer Team.

Congratulations, Myra! We are so lucky to have such a committed volunteer!

Friday, July 31, 2015

2nd Annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match

On Tuesday, July 28, 2015, Special Olympics PA - Philadelphia athlete Angel Rosa and Unified Partner Edwin Leon traveled to Colorado for the second annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match, presented by MLS WORKS.  The Major League Soccer (MLS) Match featured a 7-v-7 East vs. West All-Star format for which eleven MLS teams sent Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. 

Angel and Edwin played for the East in a match consisting of two 20-minute halves wearing uniforms provided by ADIDAS. The two athletes, both Northeast High School students, represented Philadelphia well.

MLS WORKS and Special Olympics are working together to leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports.

MLS participating celebrities included on-air talent Brian Dunseth who provided commentary and interviews with both players and coaches, Colorado Rapids players who acted as on-hand coaches, and LA Galaxy and U.S. National Legend Landon Donovan who presented the athletes and partners with medals after the game. The Western Conference All-Stars defeated the Eastern Conference All-Stars, 3-2.