Organizers are seeking volunteers for the upcoming Special Olympics Nova Scotia (SONS) summer games.
The three-day celebration of athletics will take place from June 16 to 18 on the St. F.X. campus in Antigonish.
“This year, what we are actually hoping to do is have some volunteers come out, who are also willing to come out for 2018
when we host nationals,” Anne Marie Shannon, SONS director — events and communications — said.
Next year, the Special Olympics Canada 2018 summer games will take place in Antigonish, at the same venue.
“We are, kind of, looking at it as a little practice run,” she added.
Shannon noted that there have been “many great volunteers,” when the provincial summer games have been staged in
“So many people are already very familiar with our Games, but next year, in 2018, we are putting on a show for our country,
so we really want to get some good volunteers that will come out this year and kind of get a sense of exactly what the Games
are like and what volunteering is like with us,” Shannon said.
“And, hopefully, they will want to return with us next year.”
For the upcoming provincial event, Shannon said they have, approximately 300 to 350 “volunteer slots” that need to
be filled throughout the weekend.
“It depends, really, on the amount of the time people want to give to us,” she added.
She noted the minimum volunteer slot commitment is usually four hours.
“We get some people that will come out for the day, most likely, in a lot of areas, so we look for somewhere around 200 volunteers,” Shannon said.
Volunteers are required for each sport.
“Some of the sports do require some sport-specific background, but some of them don’t,” Shannon said, noting people
can be trained in areas such as timing for track and field.
Volunteers can also be trained for marshaling and other duties.
Organizers are also looking for medical volunteers.
“Someone who has their St. John Ambulance — that’s your basic requirement for medical — to volunteer in that area,” Shannon
Help is also required for the opening ceremonies, dance, meals and transportation.“
There is also facility management — that really is anything that requires (Thursday evening and Friday morning)
people to just come out and help us set up the field and put up the tents, and lug some stuff around,” Shannon said.
“Nothing very glamorous, but it is certainly an integral part to having the event all set up for when our athletes, coaches
and volunteers arrive.”
Shannon was asked about the experience volunteers come away with.
“People always say ‘what is so magical about Special Olympics?’ and we always say that, until you experience it, it is hard to
really put into words,” she said.
“But, once you come out to volunteer with Special Olympics, and you actually get to experience being around the athletes
and the competitions — and the spirit — just the humanity of our athletes.
“We call our organization ‘sticky.’ Once you come out and volunteer with Special Olympics, they do keep coming back,” Shannon added.
She noted, especially when the Games are in Antigonish, “we have a great local group down there.”
“Anytime that we come down, and we put out the call for volunteers, people definitely come back,” Shannon said.
To volunteer, people can follow a link on the SONS website — specialolympicsns.ca
“Right on the front page, you will see a story for the Special Olympics summer games. If you click on that link, it will take
them to a volunteer form that they can download and submit,” Shannon explained.
For more information, people can also email Mark Landry — firstname.lastname@example.org