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              Taking Time for the Special Olympics

              Contributed by Madison College (WI) BPA

              Madison College’s BPA Chapter made a goal for themselves to be more involved with Special Olympics.  After the 2012 National Leadership Conference they did just that and volunteered for the Special Olympics Wisconsin Regional Track and Field Competition on Saturday, May 5, 2012, at Oregon High School in Oregon, WI. 

              Members Stacy Dayton, Sabrina Cutler, and Emily Cauthen along with advisor Jeff Quinlan assisted in staging the athletes for their eventsand escorting them to the awards area.

              Members Emily Cauthen, Stacy Dayton, Sabrina Cutler and advisor Jeff Quinlan

              Staging athletes begins within a tent where the competitors are seated in order for their particular events.  Once all the athletes are set, two volunteers lead the first group to the starting line ensuring the athletes are still in the correct order.  Then, it is time for the event to begin and the most fun part of volunteering: cheering on the athletes!

              “I was so impressed by the athletes.  They are an inspiration and I was honored to work with them.  Seeing all of this makes me want to be a better person and always strive for my best,” says member Emily Cauthen.

              After an event was over, the athletes were escorted to the high school’s gym by their two volunteers to receive their much deserved awards.

              “I found this experience very humbling,” shares member Sabrina Cutler.  “I would do this again.  The athletes and volunteers were a great bunch of people and kept their spirits up even though it was a cold day.”

              Sabrina also got a taste of competing when she was asked to help a visually impaired athlete.  He was placed in lane one because he could use the white line in that lane as a guide.  Her job was to run beside him during the race to also be a guide.  Little did she know she had her work cut out for her!

              “The gun shot went off and he flew!”  says advisor Jeff Quinlan.  “He was so fast and Sabrina was running after him trying to keep up!”

              This proves that although these athletes may have a disability, they are still a force to be reckoned with.

              Each BPA participant volunteered for four hours during the track and field competition, which totals 16 volunteer hours.

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