Students Prepare for Special Olympics

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on September 27, 2018, No Comments

Students and faculty from East Stroudsburg University’s departments of special education and rehabilitation and sport management are joining forces to put together the 2018 Monroe County Special Olympics Fall Invitational. The Special Olympics has been celebrated on ESU’s campus for over thirty years. This year, an expected 400 athletes will come to campus to experience the games and events prepared for them by students in both departments. The Monroe County Special Olympics Fall Invitational will take place at East Stroudsburg University on Sunday, October 7, 2018 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Events will be held at Eiler-Martin Stadium, Koehler Fieldhouse, Mitterling Field, and the Koehler Fieldhouse quad, all on ESU’s campus.

Edward Arner, instructor of sport management, teaches Organization and Administration Sport Operations, a capstone class, which requires students to apply course content to real life situations, use critical thinking and problem solving skills, and develop and implement their own organizational structure when planning events. “They are responsible for the logistics of the Special Olympics games, building the event from the ground up,” Arner said. “It is up to the class to determine what is needed for each event, and how to get it. It promotes leadership skills and social skills, things that students don’t typically consider in their daily lives, It’s a lesson that will prepare them for a career in sport management.” The students will plan each sporting event, including flag football and soccer games, and volleyball matches. They must also recruit volunteers. “An event of this caliber is not possible without help. It is up to the students to find volunteers, assign them jobs for the day, and see to it that every area is covered,” Arner said.

Christine Wolosz, a senior majoring in sport management from East Stroudsburg, Pa., is a student in the class and has been named event director. “This class is giving me the opportunity to put everything I have learned into a real world setting,” Wolosz said. “It has its challenges and we have to work with what we have, but seeing a smile on the faces of the athletes will bearewardinitself.”

Wendy Smith, instructor of special education and rehabilitation, teaches Curriculum Instruction for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities. Students in this class are working toward a dual certificate in either early childhood and special education or middle/high school and special education. These students are responsible for Olympic Town, a place where athletes will have the chance to cool down  and fuel up with refreshments and snacks and take part in arts and crafts, including decorating cupcakes and making their own superhero capes. There will also be therapy dogs in Olympic Town, which will be located in the parking lot between Kohler Fieldhouse and Linden Hall.

Smith believes “working with the athletes will give her students the ability to meet and interact with people from all types of backgrounds, it will help students gain confidence and boosts their resumes which makes them more marketable to employers as they prepare for a career of teaching in special education classrooms.”

Special Olympics is a global organization that uses sports as a catalyst to change society’s perceptions and treatment of people with intellectual disabilities. It is a brand known throughout the world and serves over four million individuals with intellectual disabilities. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics.

The 2018 Monroe County Special Olympics Fall Invitational is open to the public at no cost.

For more information about the 2018 Monroe County Special Olympics Fall Invitational or to volunteer, contact Arner at 570-422-3496, or email earner1@esu.edu. For more information about Olympic Town, or to donate resources, contact Smith at 570-422-3558, or email wsmith3@esu.edu.