Let the games begin! The East Region Spring Games of Special Olympics Texas are coming to Baytown and Lee High School on April 21-22. While the Special Olympics have had events here for 42 years, hosting the entire region is a little different.
Lauren Siple, Athletics Programs Coordinator for the City of Baytown, said, “More than 1,000 athletes will be coming to Baytown from Houston, College Station, Galveston, Beaumont and surrounding areas.”
For Lauren, it’s more than just a program she gets to help coordinate.
She said, “Special Olympics brings pure joy to anyone involved or competing. This is a time for athletes to showcase their true passion and to celebrate the coaches, family members, or mentors who have guided them along the way.”
She added, “For some, it’s also witnessing things others said they would never be able to do. This is where pages are turned, hope is brought to life, and forever memories are made.”
The two-day event begins with cycling on Friday. Opening ceremonies will actually kick off Saturday’s full lineup of track, tennis, soccer, and many other events.
“This is a huge undertaking. There are countless hours of preparation, communication, dedication, support, and involvement in the weeks leading up to something of this magnitude. The reward of being out there with our Olympians and community far outweighs all of that,” said Lauren.
The event already has a host of helpers, but with a larger than usual event comes an increased need for volunteers. It doesn’t matter your skill level or age.
She said, “We are indeed asking for a ton of volunteers due to the larger-scaled event. We have kids younger than 7 acting as cheerleaders to older adults who want to hand out water bottles or awards. If you have free time that weekend, we need you.”
If you can’t volunteer, you can still attend as a fan and a friend. Either way, you have no excuse to miss out on one truly special event.
Lauren said, “The energy is so contagious and upbeat. There are athletes giving it their all, fans cheering, volunteers helping, laughter, love, and the impossible becoming possible. This is what life should be about.”
To volunteer, visit baytown.org/218 or baytownengage.com.