Special Olympics needs volunteers

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There is a lack of volunteers for the Special Olympics in Craig.

Julie Fite, coordinator for Special Olympics for the Western Slope, is looking for volunteers, sponsors, chaperones and people for an area management team, which takes care of outreach, coordinating volunteers and fundraising.

"We are particularly looking for coaches," she said. "The coaches that Special Olympics has now are coaching everything, they can get pretty burned out so we would love some fresh blood."

Brainstorming was the goal of the meeting for the Special Olympics of Craig Thursday night.

The meeting, however, did not meet her expectations.

"We didn't have much of a turnout, we had three existing coaches, who are all parents of Special Olympians" Fite said.

"Basically we are trying to get more community involvement," said Fite.

Bonny Dalton is a Special Olympics coach whose four children participate in the events.

"Three are participating athletes and the fourth is a unified partner, who are athletes who don't qualify for Special Olympics teaming up with our athletes for unified events," Dalton said.

Being a unified partner is open to anyone who is interested.

She has been involved with the organization since 1998 when she was in charge of a church dinner raising support for it. Soon afterward she found that her eight-year-old son qualified to participate in the Olympics.

"Just being with the athletes, everything for them is so simple," Dalton said.

The athletes do not take everyday accomplishments for granted.

"For some of them, just being able to throw a tennis ball is an accomplishment," Dalton said. "I love them and they love me unconditionally."

There are about 1,000 participants in Western Colorado and probably around 50 or so in Craig and its outlying areas, according to Fite.

Upcoming meets for Special Olympians include:

  • the Western Area Summer Classic in Glenwood Springs on July 11 and 12
  • a softball tournament in Grand Junction on July 28 and 30
  • the state Summer Classic in Denver on August 9 and 10

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