40 special needs athletes, of all ages, were brought together in the Senior Cafe, at GHS, to have their first practice of the season. Every athlete and volunteer were waiting impatiently because all were just too excited to see what the new season will bring them. The Athletes came from surrounding towns and many are students from Goffstown High school. Not only are there many athletes from Goffstown High school, there are many volunteers from GHS as well.
Anna Lendry began volunteering for the Special Olympics this year and in despite of her busy schedule, she managed to find time to help support this program. What inspired her to volunteer and teach special needs kids, was her cousin Gabe. Anna’s cousin Gabe is autistic and one her favorite things to do is visit him. Anna loves to teach Gabe new things but really he ends up teaching her new things.
“ Gabe has taught me more than anyone and he is why I like to help out with special needs kids”. Another reason why Anna wanted to join Special Olympics is her desire to help people. For her it never mattered who she helped, it has just always a goal of hers to accomplish. She also stated that volunteering for this team has taught her very important life lessons. “ Patience is a key skill I have learned when participating in this program. Every single athlete is different, so you learn how to work with people who have different personalities”. What Anna enjoys most about Special Olympics is working with her buddy Kyle. She said teaching Kyle javelin and running with him is always fun.
The athletes in Special Olympics are able to participate in many different events that fit to their best ability. Javelin, long jump, running, and botche, are just some of the main events that are available for the athletes. Everyone is allowed to pick what event they choose and most play more than one. Each athlete is assigned to a volunteer who teaches them how to properly play their event. Athlete Kyle Harcrow, started participating in special Olympics this year and he said his favorite even so far is javelin. At first Kyle had no idea how to properly throw a javelin but his partner Anna taught and it is now his favorite thing to do. Kyle said “My favorite part of Special Olympics is hanging out with my friends. Everyone is extremely nice including my partner”.
Towards the end of the school year every athlete and volunteer travels to UNH,to participate in a State competition. Players and volunteers stay overnight and play team bonding activities. Teams from all over the state come and compete in every event. Volunteer, Kerstyn Harcrow said the overnight stay was the best part of her Special Olympics. “ It was an incredible experience because you are able to spend time with everybody who participates in special olympics. During the free time everyone would join in to decorate cookies and do face masks. Kerstyn said her favorite part of the overnight stay was watching the athletes compete. “ It is amazing and cheers me up to see all the athletes happy doing what they love best”. Over all Kerstyn said “ Special Olympics is truly a great time”.