Athletes to shine at Special Olympics

Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***More volunteers are needed for the 23rd Annual Special Olympics Spring Games 2006 to be held May 3 at the German Police Academy in Enkenbach-Alsenborn.

About 800 people throughout Germany have volunteered, but with 740 athletes participating in this year’s event, more than 400 volunteers are still needed, said Tryn Rekker, the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s Special Olympics coordinator.

Special Olympics are an international program of athletic competition for children and adults with special needs.

“Athletes look forward to the spring games for months, and it’s the volunteers who make it happen for them,” said Ms. Rekker.

Volunteers help to set up, tear down, serve food, register athletes, operate competitive and non-competitive games, and be a “buddy.” Buddies are paired with athletes and help them throughout the day, going to events and lunch. Meals will be provided free to athletes and their buddies.

“We still need more volunteers to be buddies and translators … a lot more,” said Kari Sharpe, the garrison’s exceptional family member program manager. “Buddies are the athletes’ personal coach, cheerleader and friend for the day.”

The games include tennis, track and field, badminton, long jump, soccer, basketball, softball and volleyball.

Non-competitive games include treasure hunt, parachute, obstacle course and ring toss.

For more information, call Ms. Rekker at 489-8359 or 0631-536-8359.