For thirteen years John Brown University in Siloam Springs has been hosting a Special Olympics summer camp. The event consists of 280 people, six sports, five days and a whole lot of fun.
“It’s about the friendships they build throughout the week,” said executive director Terry Weir. “That’s off the court. On the court, the skills they learn during the week are incredible.”
“I met some real cool friends that help me along with sports,” said athlete Nathan McClain. “I can’t wait to get out there and cheer them on. It’s great fun.”
The athletes also have peer team leaders to help guide them throughout the week.
“It’s amazing to see the joy on their faces,” said team leader Courtney McCone. “They have so much fun every day.”
What’s unique about this week is there also 100 coaches in training trying to learn the tools in making a successful Special Olympics team.
“What we know from working with Special Olympians for all these years is they understand the sport,” said Weir. We want that to be the best thing everyone sees on the court and on the field.”
Whether it be football, soccer, basketball or volleyball, there’s one major goal here.
“My favorite part of the entire week was getting to know everybody here and have fun,” said McClain.
And next summer, they’ll do it all over again.