“Actually, we’re seeking approximately 3,000 volunteers for SOTX’s 2019 Summer Games that will be held May 2 through 5 at Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio,” said Judy Yoshimaru, SOTX director of volunteer services. “This is such a wonderful, inspiring event, so we anticipate volunteer slots will fill up fast on a first-come, first-served basis.”
In 1969, SOTX staged its first competition, and in 2019, the 50th Annual Summer Games will be held in San Antonio – Inclusion City USA – for the first time. The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation is presenting sponsor for the games that will be headquartered at Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment in an atmosphere of inclusion.
SOTX anticipates that a record 3,000 athletes from across Texas will compete, so volunteer support in numerous capacities such as officials, scorekeepers, athlete escorts and award presenters will be needed, Yoshimaru said. Competitions will be held in athletics (track and field), soccer, cycling, gymnastics and tennis.
Volunteers also will be needed for support services such as staffing the Athlete Village, the Healthy Athletes exhibition at the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of Teleton USA (CRIT), meal facilities and merchandise outlets.
To volunteer, interested individuals can access SOTX’s registration pages at www.SOTX.org/competitions/summergames/volunteer.
“By clicking on any of the events listed, prospective volunteers are able to see the shift day and time, see how many remaining positions there are and sign up for themselves,” Yoshimaru explained. “We ask that each person register individually to keep track of numbers of people coming. Registering groups of volunteers is a little more complicated, so I’m glad to get them registered myself at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Moving to a more-centralized location like San Antonio, as well as lowering the eligible age for competition to 8 years old, opens the door for even more athletes to compete than in previous years. Special Olympics athletes have been training in their sports for a minimum of 12 weeks, while also participating at area-level competitions.
Opening ceremonies for the 2019 Summer Games will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 3, at Toyota Field, adjacent to Morgan’s Wonderland. All athletes will parade into the stadium with their teams and will be formally introduced to the crowd before the torch – Flame of Hope – is passed and the cauldron is lit, signifying the official start of the Games. The Guardians of the Flame will be members of Texas law enforcement agencies, and the torch bearers will be athletes from five Texas regions.
The four-day Summer Games are open to the public, so Fans in the Stands are needed to cheer on the athletes.
Entities involved in staging the 2019 Summer Games include SOTX, Morgan’s Wonderland, CRIT, the North East Independent School District (NEISD), Spurs Sports and Entertainment/San Antonio FC, and Visit San Antonio.
About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas provides opportunities for more than 58,800 Texas children and adults with intellectual disabilities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. For more information, visit www.sotx.org.
About Morgan’s Wonderland
Non-profit, award-winning Morgan’s Wonderland theme park, which is completely wheelchair-accessible, was designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment. Next door is ultra-accessible™ Morgan’s Inspiration island splash park. For more information, visit www.MorgansWonderland.com.
- : Special Olympics Texas