April 11, 2015 will mark the first annual hosting of the Southeast Iowa Special Olympics Spring Games at Iowa Wesleyan in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The spring games is a day of competition for the Southeast Iowa area Special Olympic athletes to qualify to go on to the State Summer Games. The Summer Games are held at Iowa State University May 21-23.
Iowa Wesleyan is a NCAA DIII affiliated institution. NCAA DIII has a national partnership with Special Olympics, specifically through their Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The goal of SAAC is to strive to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity for all student-athletes. Iowa Wesleyan’s SAAC group has been working for months to organize and facilitate the April 11 event.
The Iowa Wesleyan SAAC has put on numerous fundraisers throughout the year to help support the Southeast Iowa Special Olympics’ annual budget. The goal is to raise over $5,000 for the group to help promote participation of the special needs population. Spring Games takes place during Division III week, which each NCAA DIII institution celebrates annually with the goal to showcase DIII athletes and their athletic, academic, and community service driven accomplishments and involvement. The Iowa Wesleyan student athletes will be in attendance at this event volunteering to help put on the different competitions and serving as “high-fivers” to the Special Olympic athletes.
There will also be community members, faculty and staff from the college giving their support and helping with the games. Spring Games will take place at Maple Leaf Athletic Complex in Mount Pleasant, Iowa on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 AM and the day will conclude around 3 p.m. Athletes will be able to compete in a number of events including the shot put, softball throw, tennis ball throw, Turbo Jav throw, long jump, and many wheelchair, walking, and running races of distances between 25 – 1500 Meters. The competitions are open to individuals as young as 8 years old. There is no maximum age cutoff. In addition to the athletic events, there will be a parade, opening ceremonies, a dance, and an Olympic Village full of vendors and additional activities for the athletes.
The Iowa Wesleyan SAAC would like to encourage all members of the community and college to come check out to the event at any time during the day. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Coach BJ Wagy, the head of the Iowa Wesleyan SAAC group via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 319-385-6305.