February 3, 2010

The Games will go on!

In the beginning of this year we were told the Special Olympic Winter Games to be held at the end of March had been canceled. This was heart breaking news for us and all the athletes across the State of Colorado.

The note that came from the Special Olympics Colorado Organization was thoughtful and included the following:

2009 was a tough year for SOCO in this economy. We will end 2009 with a large deficit. While we remain financially secure, some tough decisions had to be made in the 2010 budget to insure the viability of SOCO and the services to our over 10,000 athletes. As many of you know, SOCO is among a very small percentage (less than 6%) of nonprofit organizations that doesn’t charge for services and doesn’t receive any Federal, State or County funding. All of the funds used, some $3,000,000, is raised in Colorado through special events, individual giving (including the Tax Check Off), sponsorships and grants. We’ve had a challenge with the economy this year and our giving has decreased significantly. Our loyal supporters are still giving, but in much lower amounts.

I understood the decision and applaud the steps that not for profits must take to remain viable. It is not easy in today’s economy.

I decided not to tell Alex about this until we were closer to the end of March. She has been skiing with her team every Saturday, practicing her turns through the gates, and working on her speed. She is improving every week, and dare I say – losing a couple of pounds?

The kids will still be competing in the regionals in two weekends. But, Alex and all her teammates love the State Games; the hoopla, the media coverage and the pride in medaling are the motivations these athletes work towards for the entire season. I knew there would be much sadness about the cancellation of the State Games and this could distract Alex and put her in a very bad funk. Not a fun place for any of us to be.

Lucky me, for once, my inability to face a bad situation worked out. The Games will go on! A very generous couple has underwritten the entire event and our athletes will compete.

Wish all my problems would go away this easily....The press release is below:

Special Olympics Colorado 2010
State Winter Games Reinstated

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Special Olympics Colorado (SOCO) 2010 State Winter Games will proceed after all. The two-day annual event was originally cancelled for 2010 due to declining donations in 2009. However, thanks to a generous Denver area donor who responded to a 9News feature last week regarding the cancellation of the event, the games will go on. This year’s signature winter event for Special Olympics Colorado will take place March 28-29 at Copper Mountain Resort and Dobson Ice Arena in Vail.

“We are delighted to announce that the Special Olympics Colorado 2010 State Winter Games have been reinstated,” says Mindy Watrous, President & CEO of SOCO. “These generous Coloradoans, who wish to remain anonymous, have made our athletes’ dreams come true. We are extremely grateful to them.”

The Special Olympics Colorado Winter Games mark the culmination of the winter sports season. The event draws nearly 400 Special Olympics Athletes and Unifi ed Sports® partners plus an additional 600 individuals (volunteers, coaches and family members) from around the state. Competition takes place in six sports -- alpine skiing, cross country skiing, fi gure skating, snowboarding,snowshoeing and speed skating. The games, which include Opening and Closing Ceremonies, are open to the public FREE of charge.

This marks the 32nd year for the Special Olympics Colorado State Winter Games and the 22nd consecutive year the event will take place at Copper Mountain Resort.“We are thankful for our wonderful partnership with Copper Mountain Resort. They have been supportive, understanding and incredibly fl exible in agreeing to once again host our winter games.”

For more information regarding this event or Special Olympics Colorado, http://www.specialolympicsco.org/

Since 1969, Special Olympics Colorado (SOCO) has been strengthening families, athletes and the very soul of our community through sports training and athletic competitions. Special Olympics Colorado provides year-round training and sponsors over 80 competitions at the area and state level in 20 sports for nearly 10,000 athletes statewide. With a base of more than 6,000 volunteers, hundreds of hours are donated allowing SOCO to support athletes of all ages and abilities, allowing them to build athletic, learning and social skills. Participation with other athletes, non-disabled peers (Unifi ed Sports® partners), coaches, sponsors and volunteers builds confi dence and creates opportunities to participate as productive and respected members of society by increasing public awareness of the athletes’ capabilities. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics.
Support. Volunteer. Coach. Compete. Special Olympics Colorado. Be a FAN.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. You are making a difference in the lives of thousands of people, with and without disabilities, across the State of Colorado.

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