Albany prepares for Special Olympics - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany prepares for Special Olympics

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June 8, 2005

Albany- In just four months, Albany will host some special athletes from all over Georgia.

"We're going to have about 15 hundred athletes from around the state so, I think it's going to be great to get people down here to Albany who've never been here before," said Kristin Caso, Albany Recreation and Parks Department.

A spokesman for the state Special Olympics says preparations in Albany are behind where they should be. Local organizers desperately need volunteers who can pass a background check.

"This is a little bit different because they're athletes with intellectual disabilities so there's certain things that we have to make sure that are there like medical releases and things like that," said Fran Stalter, Albany Recreation and Parks Department.

A thousand volunteers will help at venues like the Civic Center and the Riverwalk. They'll even block off streets for the cycling events. They will need to register soon.

"You can't just show up the weekend of the Special Olympics we need to have everyone organized ahead of time so call us as soon as you can," said Caso.

Volunteer support isn't all that's needed, there's also a need for financial support. Part of the agreement for hosting the fall games is coming up with sponsors and $55,000 in endorsements.

"The Special Olympics doesn't come free, and we would love to have any corporate sponsorships. It doesn't matter whether its a hundred, five hundred, a thousand dollars on up," said Caso.

Representatives from Atlanta will be in next week to check on the city's progress and make sure everything is on course for October.

"We're meeting monthly and it's just for us to stay on the same page as the state, they have expectations and we have expectations as the local games management team. We want to do an awesome job and we want the athletes to have a wonderful experience," said Stalter.

If you want to volunteer or if you would like to make a donation or sponsor an event you can contact the state Special Olympics office at 1-800-866-4400 ext. 120.

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