Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Contacts: Garnet McKeown
Scott Wentzky

Area Eleven Special Olympics
Area Eleven South Carolina Special Olympics is one of several therapeutic programs coordinated by the Parks, Recreation &Tourism Therapeutic Division. It has served athletes from York, Chester and Lancaster counties since 1968, providing opportunities for sports training and event competition to those with intellectual disabilities. If you know of someone who would like to participate as a Special Olympics athlete. Area Eleven is a volunteer based organization and welcomes volunteers and sponsors for its athletes.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities have seen improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image from their participation in Special Olympics. They enjoy the rewards of friendship and often discover new abilities and talents.

The Mission of Special Olympics

“Let me win. But, if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for individuals with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. World wide, there are more than one million Special Olympics athletes representing 160 countries. South Carolina has over 15,000 athletes training on a year-round basis.

Sports Training
Throughout the year, athletes train for specific sporting events under the guidance of volunteer coaches. Some sports have “unified” teams where non-disabled “partners” form a team with disabled athletes and compete in sports such as unified soccer and unified golf. Area Eleven participants have the opportunity to train and compete in eleven traditional and six unified sports on the local, state, national and international levels.

Spring and Fall Games
Spring and Fall Special Olympics Games are held locally along with other sport-specific events such as bowling tournaments. The largest event each year is the Spring Games at Cherry Park where over 1,000 Special Olympics athletes from York, Chester and Lancaster counties compete in 16 track and field events. To make the day a success, 1,000 volunteers are needed to assist with running events, presenting awards and cheering the participants. The Spring Games is typically held in March or April each year.

PRT often relies on the support of volunteers to deliver programs to the community. Area Eleven Special Olympics is an organization that depends on volunteers and donations to provide quality training and competition to over 1,000 athletes. If you would like more information on volunteering, participating, making a donation, or coordinating a fundraising event, contact Garnet McKeown .

In particular, if you have a group that would be willing to assist with the next Spring Games, contact Garnet McKeown to have your group assigned to an event area. Athletic ability is not required. Individuals who wish to volunteer do not need to call in advance, but should follow the directions posted on this website along with the event date. Many volunteers enjoy this event so much that they help out every year! 

Related Topics:
Additional Therapeutic Programs