The interactive course provided information on all aspects of hosting Special Olympics games, and was specifically aimed at enabling the local organization to begin putting the administrative and volunteer structures in place ahead of the games.
The vice president of sports and competition of Special Olympics Connecticut Ms. Laurie-Jean Hannon facilitated the course. She indicated that topics included budgeting, registration, athlete training, volunteer management and training, ceremonial protocols and Special Olympics management principles and structures.
Mr. Ivor Blake, national director of Special Olympics St. Kitts and Nevis, said the partnership with Connecticut has been of assistance to the local organization in fulfilling its mandate in its work with children in the Federation who participate in Special Olympics activities. In so doing, he encouraged Special Olympics administrators and volunteers to focus on achieving the ideals of Special Olympics.
“We celebrate the abilities and the accomplishments of people with special intellectual disabilities everyday in our collective efforts to form a new global vision of acceptance, empowerment and inclusion. It is immensely gratifying to help and support a fellow human being to make their lives better. This must be the focus of what we do in the movement that we are in,” said Mr. Blake.
Special Olympics SKN past president Mr. Lloyd Lazar told participants that the use of sport in Special Olympics helps provide a holistic environment for children with disabilities to experience and achieve.
“Some of those young people who participate in Special Olympics programs display a higher level of confidence, and they are quite often in a better position to go and get work and to work in the ordinary areas. Also, there are some Special Olympics athletes, footballers, who play with regular teams because of their confidence,” the past president informed.
According to Mr. Lazar, the participation of children with intellectual disabilities, and some with physical disabilities, helps their parents to be more confident and comfortable about their children’s development.
“The parents feel a lot more comfortable seeing their children participate knowing that Special Olympics looks after them significantly, he said.
Commenting on the goals of the course, Board chairperson Ms. Clarice Cotton said the course provided games committee members and volunteers with the resources and knowledge of fundamental events management principles that would help them to deliver the highest quality experiences for the Special Olympic athletes during the February games.
Referring to the mission of Special Olympics, facilitator Ms. Hannon said it is something that is done by all Special Olympics organizations to ensure that the athletes have the right experiences.
“It is to provide year-round sports training, competition in a variety of Olympic type sports for people with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and with the community,” Hannon stated.