Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Midway Lanes Regional Bowling Tournament

Saturday October, 23, 2010 – Vestal

This Special Olympics event was a bowling event for individuals of 22 years of age and older. Teams from within the Southern Tier Region competed. Frank Padolecchia, Tom Burke and I made the trip down to Midway Lanes in Vestal. We were greeted by John Crosby who has been running this event for many years now. Anyways he was happy to have us and dubbed us the “Cortland Crew.” He gave us the run down of what we were to for the day starting with registration and for the second part of the day following registration. Other volunteers were mostly college aged students as well coming from Binghamton University which is only right down the street.

As teams showed up together sporting their team shirts the ally started to fill up. Many of the competitors were ready to start on up. Even though athletes came with their teams, it was still an individual event. Lanes were divided up by age and athletes competed against their own sex. As soon as we got our lane assignments we set up the score sheet, plugged the names in on the screen and then began bowling! I had a lane of males and a lane of females in the 40 + age bracket. There were a couple of particularly good bowlers in my lane, one of which had a high streak of 4 strikes in a row. After the beginning commotion earlier in the day, recording scores was smooth sailing. Also we just had to keep the order of the athletes for scoring purposes. Two games were played with a brief intermission in-between. During the games there was a lot of down time as athletes awaited their turn so we were just conversing about sports, what was happening in the news. The competitors could really carry out a conversation. After the last frame I tallied up the scores and submitted my sheet to John who then presented the athletes with their award based on how they did in competition.

This was overall a good experience for me. I got to see how this event compared to the previous event I did (Fall Games). It was definitely smaller but still a good amount of athletes for a regional competition. I added 7 more volunteer hours making my total tally 15. Another added bonus was that we all got Special Olympics shirts as a token of appreciation. I will wear it proudly!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Special Olympics Fall Games

Friday October 1, 2010 – Seneca Falls

The Special Olympics Fall Games is a huge event and I was happy to be a part of it. Today we were setting up for the games introduction ceremony as well as the events that were to follow in the up coming days. Chris Heim and I arrived at Seneca Falls bright and early that morning. Upon arriving there were a couple of Special Olympics personnel around but really not much activity. Once we wondered for a little bit we ran into Bill (who presented at our mini-conference), and he was stunned we were there and ready to help. To make a long story short they were not expecting any volunteers till 12 noon. We were there at 8 am, how fitting. Anyways after we had a good laugh, we got put to work. Chris and I had a hand in the setup of the games. Although we did not get a chance to work directly with the athletes, we still did our share. We put up tables for registration, sales, constructed soccer goals, set up fields etc. Pretty much you name it, we did it. That kept us busy up until other volunteers started to show up.

As other volunteers began to add up we had a meeting with the staff. This was to work out some of the logistics for the next two days. This event would be for not if there was not nearly the time people donate and put in. A lot of hours go into planning the games. The hours that we volunteers donate are what makes the games happen. It was cool interacting with some of the other people as everyone had a different story on how they got connected with the organization. Ages ranged from other college aged students to retired couples. All who just want to lend a hand and help out. The rest of the time spent was more practical rather then physically setting up. Here is a link that gives an overview of what will be taking place for the weekend. http://www.specialolympicsny.org/eventdetails.php?event_id=6909

All in all I ended up accumulating 8 hours toward my goal of 20. This experience was valuable to me as it gave me the chance to see first hand how the games was set up and run. Also on a side note it worked out in our favor getting there super early. This gave us the opportunity to interact and shadow the Special Olympics big wigs. All were personable and happy to have us. I was in contact in Stacy Gioeli who is the director of volunteer management. This is beneficial as I can get in touch with her to take advantage of future opportunities she may have in store for me.