Special Olympics NY needs local volunteers for the State Winter Games. The games will be hosted by Dutchess, Orange, and Sullivan Counties, February 17-18.

(2017 Special Olympics NY Video Produced by Anna Costanza)

POUGHKEEPSIE –  With just one week to go before the Opening Ceremonies for the 2017 Winter Games, Special Olympics NY is calling on Hudson Valley residents to volunteer to help make the games a success.

For the second straight year, Dutchess, Orange and Sullivan counties will host the annual event, which will bring nearly 1,000 athletes and coaches from around the state to the Hudson Valley.

Special Olympics NY“This year’s Winter Games will look to replicate the record-breaking event we enjoyed last year in the Hudson Valley,” President and CEO of Special Olympics NY Neal Johnson said. “From the outpouring of encouragement our athletes received during the opening ceremony and competition in 2016, to the number of volunteers and support from local sponsors who made the Winter Games possible, we couldn’t be happier to return to the region. I know the Hudson Valley will again make this weekend memorable for all involved, again setting an example for future Winter Games throughout the state.”

The Hudson Valley set records in 2016 for both the number of volunteers and time period in which they signed up. Building on that historic volunteer turnout, organizers again encouraged local residents to volunteer to make the Winter Games as successful as possible.

County Executive Marc Molinaro, who again serves as the Honorary Chair for the 2017 Winter Games, said, “We in Dutchess County have asked our residents to THINK DIFFERENTLY about our neighbors with special needs, and the Special Olympics are a great example of how that initiative has been embraced in our community. Wherever local volunteers have been needed – setting up competition venues, keeping score, rooting for these exceptional athletes from the stands – our residents have stepped up and answered the call to THINK DIFFERENTLY. I’m confident we’ll see a final surge in volunteers to help us surpass the historic levels we set in 2016. This inspirational weekend of competition and friendship will be one in which everyone involved will take pride, and Dutchess County is honored to be the center of activity for the 2017 Winter Games.”

In addition to service volunteers, Special Olympics New York seeks volunteers to be Fans in the Stands for the weekend. Athletes will arrive at the State Winter Games from all over New York and many families cannot make the trip. Volunteers from the community are needed to attend the competitions, watch and cheer for these champions.

The Games Organizing Committee (GOC) has organized the various aspects of the event, securing local community support and sponsorship, and working to provide a unique Hudson Valley feel to the Games. The Co-Chairs of the 2017 State Winter Games GOC are Mary Kay Vrba, president and CEO of Dutchess Tourism Inc., and Frank M. Castella Jr., president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The 2017 State Winter Games will commence on February 17th with Opening Ceremonies, including a ceremonial parade of athletes, motivational speeches, local entertainment and the Law Enforcement Torch Run at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in the City of Poughkeepsie. The Mid-Hudson Civic Center will also host Closing Ceremonies and a Victory Dance on February 18th.

Event venues include:
• Alpine Skiing – Holiday Mountain Ski Area, 99 Holiday Mountain Road in Monticello
• Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing – Bowdoin Park, 85 Sheafe Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie
• Figure Skating – McCann Ice Arena, 14 Civic Center Plaza in the City of Poughkeepsie
• Floor Hockey – Stewart Air National Guard Base, 1 Maguire Way in Newburgh

“Our residents’ giving nature makes us distinctly Dutchess, and it’s one of the reasons visitors from across the world travel to our county each year. It’s also what makes hosting these Winter Games so inspiring – seeing our community answer our call and come out in force to support these athletes in whatever way they can,” Ms. Vrba said. “There’s still time for local residents to sign up to volunteer, giving of themselves while ensuring their neighbors from across the state enjoy a weekend of fun and camaraderie they’ll never forget.”

For Volunteer Registration, click HERE.


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