Special Olympics at Geneva
(Photo Credit: Geneva College PR)
For the first time, Geneva College takes charge of planning the Beaver County Special Olympics after hosting the event for three years. Previously planned solely by the Beaver County Special Olympics Management Team, which is still involved through Andrew Fee, Director of Athletic Operations, the Special Olympics were held on April 26 at Reeves Field.
The day is meant to celebrate those with special needs and their athletic achievements. Athletes participate in events such as the 25 and 50 meter walk, the 50, 100 and 200 meter run and the 25 and 50 meter wheelchair race. Other events include the standing long jump, running long jump, shotput, softball throw and tennis ball throw.
In between sporting events, the athletes may also participate in the Olympic Village, an area with face-painting, arts and crafts.
Geneva students are encouraged to volunteer for the event to serve in positions in the Olympic Village, help run an event or come as a “buddy” for one of the athletes.
“You get so much satisfaction out of seeing the athletes so excited to participate in the event," said student leader Corrine Alderfer, junior accounting and business major, “. . . being able to be there with them as they win the medals, get their best time in a certain event and celebrating with them. . . It’s just an awesome day.”
Individuals from numerous districts participate in this event. Volunteers also come from across the county to help with the event, creating an opportunity for Geneva students to engage with the larger community.
Madelynn Ehko, another student leader and senior communication disorders major said, “Getting Geneva students to volunteer for the event is a way to make community within Beaver County [especially] with Geneva students who are not familiar with the area.”
Rebecca Buzzie, sophomore writing major with cerebral palsy, said about the event, “People with disabilities are some of the strongest people I know because when they were being made God said, ‘With me they are going to have enough strength’... I think this is very important because it promotes advocation, inclusion and kindness and teaches people how to interact with someone with disabilities because some people don’t know how to interact with them. So, we’re just regular people too.”