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Special Olympics

About Special Olympics Florida–Palm Beach County

Founded in 1973, Special Olympics Florida-Palm Beach County is the grassroots level of the global Special Olympics movement., whose mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for people eight years of age and older 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 Olympic athletes and the community. 

The Special Olympics Oath "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt" exemplifies the true spirit of our Special Olympic athletes. Since 1968, when Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, millions of athletes with intellectual disabilities have experienced the benefits of improved physical fitness, greater self confidence and a more positive self image through their involvement.

Palm Beach County has one of the largest athlete programs in the State of Florida with more than 1,500 participants currently enrolled.  Special Olympics Florida-Palm Beach County is a program whose strength and durability are shaped by a dedicated professional staff, an inspired Management Team and hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers in local communities throughout the county. 

Games & Sports:

With two seasons of competition and a variety of tournaments offered throughout the year, Special Olympic athletes have the opportunity to receive training on a year-round basis.  Athletes are divided by gender, age and ability then placed in levels according creating the fairest competition possible.  Athletes progress from local County Games to Area Games to State Games with limited Regional Competitions and National Games with a select few advancing to World Games (held every four years).  

Special Olympics Florida-Palm Beach County offers ongoing athletic training and sports competition for 21 team and individual sports that allow athletes to expand their opportunities of participation. The following sports are offered:

Fall Classic: (Aug.-Dec.) Bowling*, Softball*, Power Lifting, Gymnastics
Summer Games:  (Jan-May) Athletics* (Track & Field), Bocce*, Cycling, Soccer*, Tennis*, Volleyball*, MATP

Tournaments: Aquatics*(June-Oct), Basketball*(Nov-Feb), Equestrian (Feb-May), Golf*(May-Sep),Ice Skating, Alpine Skiing, Sailing*(Jan-May)
Also Available: Unified Sports*, Unified Flag Football (Aug-Dec), Stand Up Paddle (July-Oct), Surfing (Jun-Sep) 

Program Initiatives

The Young Athletes is a sports skill development program for children with intellectual disabilities ages 2 to 7 through the emphasis of physical activity and play. This program provides flexibility to work with family members, teachers and volunteers.
The Healthy Athletes is designed to help athletes improve their health and fitness. Its mission is to improve each athlete's ability to train and compete.
The Athlete Leadership provides opportunities to explore leadership roles within Special Olympics such as a volunteer, coach, official and more.
Unified Champion Schools (formally Project Unify) is an education and sports based strategy powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance for all. Components include inclusive sports, youth leadership/advocacy & whole school engagement.

It costs Special Olympics Florida-Palm Beach County approximately $350,000 per year to operate the program. These funds are raised through individual donations, corporate support, civic groups and special event fund raisers. All programs are at no cost to the athletes. Donations are spent directly on the actual program and athlete expenses. The majority of the administrative costs are covered by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners through the County Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information, please contact Rich Fleming, County Director or Ryan Ruch, Manager of Sports & Competition at 561-966-7019 or email us.

Special Olympics Florida-Palm Beach County,
2728 Lake Worth Rd, Lake Worth, FL, 33461
Website: click here 
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