Special Olympics 2004

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May: Area 8 Spring Games

On May 15, 2004, Jill, Tom, and Debbie volunteered at the annual Area 8 Spring Games, while Claire participated in the Motor Activities Training Program (MATP) events, which are designed for athletes with more significant impairments.

The day was unseasonably cold, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the Hamilton County athletes, shown here in the opening ceremonies.
Heather (Claire's teacher) is the Hamilton County program coordinator, and her adorable daughter Turner is a smily little helper.
Claire's school aide, Brooke, was her partner for the MATP events. Claire was bundled up in a clear rain poncho as she and Brooke navigated the traffic cones.
Debbie partnered with Robbie to perform the MATP events. Here, she models her excellent 4D jacket as she and Robbie begin the traffic zone station.
Jill ran the ball-in-the-bucket station. The activity is modifed as needed to match the athlete's abilities, including moving the bucket closer or further away, and using a range of different ball sizes as needed. Here is Ellen enthusiastically throwing the ball.
Debbie first met Roger when he was a young boy and she was assisting on a field trip to Discovery Zone. Because he isn't very mobile, they hung out in the ball pit and had a great time. It's always great to see him again.
The bowling station is a big favorite with everyone. Here, Samantha was getting ready push the ball down the ramp to knock down the pins, which make a very satisfying sound as they fall over. Of course, there is much exclaiming and clapping after each successful attempt!
After the MATP activities, most of the same athletes participated in either the assisted walk race or the assisted wheelchair race. Here, Tom acted as the finish line official while Claire and Dane and their partners approach the finish line.
It was a photo finish for the assisted wheelchair race. Just look at those smiles!

February: Polar Bear Plunge

On February 7, 2004, Jill and Tom partipated in the annual Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for Special Olympics. Debbie and Claire watched from the sidelines, dressed in warm winter clothes.

A half hour before the plunging was scheduled to begin, Jill and Claire were bundled up on the sidelines trying to keep warm in the 25°F weather.
Shortly before it was time to start, the plungers were gathering in a tent, while spectators gathered just off shore.
Fire and police officers dressed in thermal, waterproof gear lined the back of the hole in the ice, to serve as protection and as an incentive for plungers to make it all the way across the water and back again. Some were outfitted in scuba gear in case of an underwater emergency.
Plungers came out in groups of 10 - 12. This group featured a team of firefighters in matching t-shirts. WISH-TV Channel 8 news teams were on hand to film the plungers.
After dashing across the water, and high-fiving the security team, they turned and headed back to shore.
After several groups jumped, Jill and Tom's group came out to line up on the beach.
When it was time to start, those clowns really got moving!
Halfway across, Jill was so cold she couldn't breathe, so she turned back, but Tom was determined to make it the whole way. Jill and Tom are the only two plungers in this photo not wearing rainbow clown wigs, so they should be easy to spot. Jill had on devil horns and a tail, as plungers are encouraged to dress in costume.
When Jill got back to shore, she was interviewed by the news crew. Her interview appeared on the 6:00 news.
Tom and the clowns head back to shore. Apparently, the extreme cold makes grown men look like they are prancing.
Brrrrr! Jill and Tom grab their basket of warm clothing to go change, but had to stop for a photo first.

That evening, Jill's interview appeared on the local CBS news ...

Watch the video clip here.

... while Tom was briefly visible on the local FOX news. (He's in the red suit on the far right.)

Watch the video clip here (in slow motion for your convenience).

Thanks for reading!

Please take a moment to visit
Special Olympics Hamilton County's website!

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