Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fernley Intermediate School Special Olympics

A while back, I got an e-mail from our region manager, Bob. He said he's not usually in the habbit of volunteering people for things, but he was talking to the person in charge of the Special Olympics at Fernley Intermediate School and my name came up. She wanted people from as many different agencies as possible to set up a booth at the Special Olympics to provide as many different opportunities for the athletes as possible. He volunteered me because I have a background in interpretation and I've also got supplies like animal skins and replicas of animal tracks and scat.

I brought a map of the Carson River Watershed and some examples of animals that live along that watershed. Bob gave me some junior ranger stickers and I handed them out to the athletes and their helpers. There were over 40 schools involved from 10 counties in Nevada. The school that came the furthest was from Hawthorne. There were over 400 athletes involved and each athlete had a student helper to take them through the games and events.

The man standing to the left is the principal of the school...cheering everyone on. I heard some of the most motivating speeches that day. They did an awesome job with this! Last year they only had a little over 100 participants and that grew to over 400 this year. I was impressed.

The event started with a parade, with all the athletes walking around the track holding banners that represented their school. Like any parade, they had a police, fire truck and ambulance escort complete with lights and sirens. My picture didn't quite work out but they also had a crane with the American flag and Nevada state flags represented. We started with the pledge and a performance of the National Anthem...which I couldn't hear because a couple of men standing nearby had a very loud conversation... but the rest of the experience was totally positive :)

I also got to hang out with Bruno Bighorn! I think he was a mascott for one of the local basketball teams...I don't remember, but he was the cutest "guy" I've ever seen!

Side note: it's not a good idea to wear shorts with winter-white legs and forget your sunscreen! Very bad idea....

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