Area P Volunteers, Athletes and Families:
As you are aware Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) has developed a Return to Activities Plan which includes guidance for returning to in person activities. That plan goes into effect on August 1st. In our last program update, in early July, the Area P Management Team shared that we would be exploring if we were able to offer training in soccer and bocce once the plan was shared. The plan was shared July 23rd and informational webinars were held last week. If you have not had a chance to review the plan you can find the plan, the recorded webinars and other Return to Activity resources on the SOPA website. In addressing safety concerns the plan outlines specific guidelines that must be followed. Group size is limited to a maximum of ten and high risk individuals are not permitted to return to in person activity. These limitations significantly impacted the number of athletes and volunteers that would be able to return to in person training. As a result, the Area P Management Team decided we WILL NOT resume in person activities this fall. This was a difficult decision as we know the athletes and coaches are eager to get back to training, but we want to make sure that all of our Area P family is able to return and that we are all safe when doing so. We will reevaluate this position again in November with the possibility of resuming Winter sports (bowling, skiing, snowboarding and snow shoeing).
SOPA will be offering virtual sport specific training. Specifics will be shared in mid to late August. In this format training and competition will be available for ALL athletes – even if you don’t typically train in the fall. This option would allow our coaches to connect with athletes to provide encouragement and training suggestions while they train at home. Coaches would collect scores from athletes prior to sectionals and Fall Fest so athletes can compete. They will be divisioned and recognized for their training accomplishments based on their results….athletes would receive SO medals. In addition to virtual sport specific training there will be other fitness based opportunities and challenges that will be available for ALL of our athletes. We hope you will consider taking advantage of these opportunities.
The last several months have created so many challenges. Maintaining our relationships is really important during times like this. We would ask that you reach out to your Special Olympics friends to check in and stay connected. We hope you all continue to stay safe.
Changing the Game - Area P
In ancient Rome, the gladiators went into the arena with these words on their lips: let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
– Eunice Kennedy Shriver at the 1st Special Olympics (1968)