Saturday, October 25, 2014

31 for 21 Day 23: Special Olympics National Games

This past June, we had the unique opportunity of being involved in the Special Olympics National Games which was held here in NJ.  It was such an awesome experience and there were so many different things we were able to do that week (and prior) including the opening ceremonies, Colin's Young Athlete Program, and then finally the closing ceremonies.  There were so many aspects that were inspiring and we also met some pretty incredible people as well.

Just prior to the beginning of the National Games, we were invited along with a few other Young Athletes to the Toys R Us (sponsors of the Young Athlete Festival for the National Games) in Times Square to help cheer on the runners of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.  This group of special runners were taking the torch on its journey to the opening ceremonies where it would be used to light the cauldron.  We had the opportunity to meet some pretty great people who loved what they were doing for the Special Olympics.

Another exciting moment from the day was when we were interviewed by Fox 5 news regarding our involvement in the Special Olympics and what it has meant to us since Colin first started.

The next event was the opening ceremonies held at the Prudential Center in Newark.  To say that night was inspiring was an understatement as we watched the parade of athletes representing their states, performances, speeches, and a show like none other when the cauldron was lit.  Colin really enjoyed himself that night and still talks about the "Special Olympics show".  The best part was, we got to watch the show with other athletes and SONJ staff members. 



Throughout the week at the SONJ complex, Toys R Us had sponsored a Young Athlete Festival complete with various tents and sports activities for the athletes to participate in.  Each day of the festival, there was also a 25 meter race for the athletes to participate in. 

During that week, we also had the opportunity to meet members of the International Special Olympic Committee while on their visit to the games.  We spent time with Tim Shriver and Bart Connor, along with other members during the visit.  It was such a great experience!

Finally, the week ended with the closing ceremonies where Colin and some other Young Athletes literally closed out the ceremonies as the "future of Special Olympics".  The theme for the night was "play unified, live unified" and was another great experience. 

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