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.