Small town Ames is going to host a big event next week! It’s officially called 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games. According to wikipedia.org, Special Olympics is an international organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities develop self confidence and social skills through sports training and competition. The athletes can develop social relationships with their teammates and coaches during continuous training. The individuals will also have the opportunity to stay fit and healthy while improving their coordination and skill.

There are 2 kinds of Special Olympics: Regional Games and World Games. The upcoming USA National Games will be held in Ames, IA, July 2-4, 2006. More than 3,000 athletes from all 50 states will meet for six days of competition in 13 different sports: aquatics (swimming), athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, bowling, golf, gymnastics, motor activities training program (matp), powerlifting, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball.

Ames was not the only town/city interested in hosting this phenomenal event. Seattle, WA and a city from either Alabama or Oregon were also bidding for it. Several reasons Ames were chosen include the central location of Iowa, the excellent facillities Ames and Iowa State have to offer, the ‘good track record’ Ames has with hosting the Iowa Special Olympics Summer Games and the excellent volunteer base Ames has to help with the games [according to iowastatedaily.com]

So far, we have more than 8,000 volunteers. I’ll be one of them on July 5. Through the place I work at, I enrolled to be a part of it. After registering, answered a bunch of questions online, attended the 1-hr training session; I was assigned to volunteer in basketball event -as a bench assistant. My job description is to supervise athletic team on the bench before, during and after competition. I wanted to be a volunteer not only because this event has a historic value to it, but also because of the athletes. At work, I interact with people with intellectual disabillities. Not only they are sweet and like to talk to you, they can be very competitive too.

Go Special Olympics! Go Ames!

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