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November 2011

 Feature Story
 Important News
 Stars of the Month
 Upcoming Events
 Sports Department News
 Development Department News
 Eastern Regional News
 Northwest Regional News
 Southwest Regional News
 Board of Directors
 Connecticut Association of Schools Unified Sports School Based Program

Feature Story  

Don't miss out on the last state
event of the year!!!
Saturday and Sunday November 19th & 20th
Bowling @ AMF Circle Lanes and AMF Milford Lanes 
Powerlifting @ Hillhouse High School

 Unified Sports® Basketball @ Quinnipiac University
Unified Sports® Volleyball @ Floyd Little Athletic Center

Click here to get all the information including schedules and directions in the coaches handbook.  

BE A FAN and come out to cheer on our athletes!!

Important News  


Mark your calendars – The 2012 Hall of Fame is being held on Wednesday, March 21st
at the Aqua Turf Country Club in Plantsville.  Don’t miss this spectacular event
where athletes, volunteers and sponsors are recognized for their many years of dedication! 

Do you know a deserving athlete, coach, volunteer or family that should be
recognized for all they do for Special Olympics?  Nominations for Hall of Fame Awards,
Unsung Hero Awards or Spirit of Life Awards can be made by completing the attached
nomination forms and returning to Kelli no later than December 16th by either mailing
to the SOCT State Office or by e-mail at

Cast your vote today! Click here for the nomination forms.

Looking for things to do this month?
We've got events happening the whole family can enjoy!
Click on the logos below for more information.


 LETR is wrapping up their 25th Anniversary year in style! 
Support your local heroes as they continue to raise funds for Special Olympics Connecticut. Click on the logo below to support your local police department.


Stars of the Month  

On Saturday, October 29th SOCT Global Messenger Matt Glad received his Eagle Scout honors from The Boy Scouts of America as a part of Troup 149. We are very proud of Matt and his accomplishments. Click here to read Matt's biography.

Laura Gremelsbacker

Known as the face of all Public Relations for Special Olympics Connecticut, Laura Gremelsbacker has moved on to another opportunity and will be missed by all that she has worked with. Laura not only accomplished a lot for SOCT during her 7 year tenure, but on an international level, she along with the creative minds at ESPN created and published the Unified Sports® video which is now used accross the world. Laura also worked closely with the Athlete Leadership Program and was known to always bring along a Global Messenger with her to PR events. Laura Gremelsbacker has made a lasting impression on Special Olympics Connecticut and she will surely be missed by all who have had the chance to work with her. Thank you, Laura from all the entire Special Olympics Connecticut family.

Special Olympics Newington

Pictured above: Warren Hartleb- SOCT Athlete and Global Messenger, Board Member John McKenna, Trisha Stapleton SOCT Unified Partner and Warren’s Speech Coach, and Paul Vitello of UTC.

During a fabolous "green" fundraising event hosted by Bernard J. Zahren, members from Team Newington were recognized for their efforts in making our 2011 Summer Games “green”.  Team Newington was recognized for their efforts toward this initiative, by carpooling and making re-usable water bottles for all of their sporting events. Great job, Team Newington...keep up the good work!!


Upcoming Events  

Events are added daily, for an updated list of all of our events please visit the calendar through the links below.

Competition events click here.

Special Events click here.

Sports Department News  

Holiday Sports Classic – November 19 & 20

The Holiday Sports Classic will take place in Milford, East Haven, Hamden, New Haven and Trumbull.  Over 2,000 athletes will participate in Bowling, Unified Bowling, Powerlifting, Unified Volleyball and Unified Basketball.  The coaches handbook is posted on the website.  Good luck to all of our athletes and partners.

Flag Football
Best of luck to our Unified Flag Football team from North Haven as they will be competing in the New England tournament at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts on Nov. 13.  The team has been practicing since September and is very excited to be attending this New England event.  It’s a thrill for all of the athletes to enter the field in the same way that the New England Patriots do and to be able to play their games on the same playing field as such a professional football team.  For more information about Flag Football please contact Laurie-Jean at  We are trying to hold an invitational event before year’s end so if there are any interested athletes or partners, please contact us.

Unified Sports
A National task force has been working on clarifying how Unified Sports is best interpreted not just in Connecticut, but throughout the USA and around the world.  All Unified coaches need to watch for future publications in the Enewsletter regarding changes that will affect SOCT programming.  SOCT is a leader in Unified Sports but some of our lower divisions may now be considered Unified Sports Player Development. 

Games Management Training Course

The goal of this course is to provide Games Committee members and volunteers with the necessary resources and knowledge of fundamental event management principles that result in the highest quality opportunities in sport for Special Olympics athletes.  This course will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at SOCT headquarters in Hamden from 9:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.  Anyone interested in attending, please contact Laurie-Jean at by Nov. 30.

Resource Corner:

The Fragile X Society of Connecticut will hold its 4th Annual Conference on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at the UConn Health Center in Farmington.  This year’s topic will be:  Successful Transitions – Planning for the Education and Employment Years.  For more information contact Tammy and Andy Selinger of the Fragile X Society of Connecticut at 860-233-1904 or email


Families affected by fragile X are invited to enroll in Our Fragile X World to participate in 1-2 surveys each calendar year.  The results of the surveys provide practical information about the world of fragile X and will be used to inform clinical science, support policy development and improve professional practice.  Go to to enroll.  Parents who have a child with fragile X syndrome (including biological, step, adoptive and foster parents), other family members with legal custody of a child with fragile X, other family members who are legal guardians of adult family members and individuals who do not have any children with fragile X or do not have any children at all can enroll if they or their spouse is a carrier of fragile X or has the full mutation.


The Nuts and Bolts of Special Education:  Thursday, November 3, 2011, 6:30 pm to 8 pm, Green Acres Elementary School 146 Upper State Street, North Haven, CT.  Families of children with disabilities are encouraged to attend and learn how to become more active participants in their children's education.  The workshop will provide information on laws relating to special education, preparing for meetings at school, and the special education referral process.  Registration is required.  Register online at or contact CPAC at 1-800-445-2722 or



Development Department News  

Over the Edge

Special Olympics Connecticut's first Over the Edge event took place on October 20th at Mohegan Sun. 60 brave participants took the 34 floor rappel, including many Mohegan Sun employees. A big thank you to Mohegan Sun for their support on this event as well as Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozum and CEO & President Jeff Hartmann for their participation. SOCT is gearing up for three Over the Edge events next year in Hartford, Stamford, and at Mohegan Sun.

Share the Love with Special Olympics at Your Local Subaru Dealer
We are pleased to share the news that Special Olympics has been selected by Subaru to be one of five charities to participate in their fourth annual Share the Love event. Subaru of America, Inc. designed the program to give back to the community through leading social organizations. Since its inception three years ago, Subaru has donated nearly $15 million to charitable causes. This year’s promotion will be held from November 19, 2011 – January 3, 2012. A donation of $250 is made for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased during the promotion to one of the five charities as selected by the consumer: Special Olympics, American Forests, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), Make-A-Wish Foundation and Meals on Wheels® Association of America. Funds donated to Special Olympics will benefit our programs in local communities across the United States. Special Olympics Connecticut will be able to provide greater services and programs for our 6,437 athletes.

ConnectiCare is pleased to be a Presenting Sponsor of the SOCT-CAS Unified Sports Program for the 2011-2012 scholastic year.  Local, caring and personal.  Those three words explain who ConnectiCare is, and what makes us a different kind of health plan. As a local company, we understand the importance of serving the community. We are committed to supporting important organizations, such as SOCT-CAS, which improve the lives of Connecticut residents.  We look forward to contributing to a memorable year!

Are you ready to take the plunge?
The 3rd Annual Coventry Lake Penguin Plunge at Patriots Park, hosted by Coventry PD and ECSU PD, will be held on Saturday, December 3th, 2011. Join other brave souls as they take the plunge for Special Olympics Connecticut. Patriots Park is a wonderful venue with great facilities, including a large playground for kids! There will be food, music and maybe a visit from Old St Nick!  There is a sandy beach and a beautiful lake!

Sign up on-line and start fundraising today! To register and start raising money, click here.

Eastern Regional News  

We would like to thank all the Local Coordinators that attended the October 4th (East Hartford) and October 6th (Eastern Region Office) meetings. A special thank you goes to Katie Dennett from the Hamden Headquarters for attending both meetings. Katie was a huge help with information pertaining to housing for the upcoming events.

Past Events

Tri-Town Cop on Top
On the weekend of September 23rd – 25th, York CI took to the roof of Tri-Town Foods in East Lyme.  Even withstanding heavy rains on Friday York CI collected over $1300 on behalf of our athletes. We would like to thank all of the staff for their continued
support of the Eastern Region.

Last Chance Golf Tournament
The Eastern Region held the 1st Last Chance Golf Tournament on October 17th at the picturesque Stonington Country Club located in Stonington, CT.  We would like to thank everyone for their participation and contributions that raised over $5,000. Thank you Wesley Williams, Timothy Lewis and Nicole Demasi for participating in the Last Chance Golf Tournament. Also thank you Kathy Ledwidge-Global Messenger from Groton for representing the Eastern Region. Great job Eastern Region Athletes!

After a beautiful day of golf participants and guests enjoyed their evening with a
delicious dinner, a raffle and a silent auction.  Prizes were donated for the raffle and s
ilent auction which included exquisite paintings by Kate Careb and Marc Mercadante’s
mother Kathyrn Mercadante. 
Thank you again everyone we look forward to our 2nd Annual Last Chance Golf Tournament next year!

Over the Edge
Thank you to all the Brave participates from the Eastern Region that went Over the Edge on Oct 20th: Officer Vanessa Magagnol from the Enfield Police Department, Officer Russ Gingras from the Essex Police Department, Lt. Eric Dessaules from the York Correctional Institution, Sgt. Andre Parker from the Waterford Police Department,
Danielle Tabshey, and Heather Trotta. Not only did they brave the 32 stories of the Mohegan Sun Tower they also braved the repel with 20 plus mph winds.

To read more about Officer Vanessa Magagnoli, click here.
Click here for Video of Lt .Eric Dessaules and Sgt. Andre Parker via

Upcoming Events
Eastern Region Bowling Qualifier in November
Sunday November 6th
AMF Silver Lanes East Hartford   
First Session Singles and Ramp Assisted/Unassisted
Team Check-in starts 8:15 AM
Opening Ceremonies 9:00 AM
Competition and Awards 9:15 AM – 11:30AM

Second Session Traditional Teams, Traditional / Unified Doubles
Team Check-in starts 10:30 AM
Competition and Awards 10:45 AM – 12:30AM

Third Session Unified Teams
Team Check-in starts 12:15 PM
Competition and Awards 1 PM – 3:30 PM

Lunch will not be served.  Concession stand will be open. Food is not allowed to be brought in. No food on the lanes. If you have any questions please call the Eastern Region office at 860-887-1555.

Special Olympics CT Ice Jam – SOCT Special Fundraising Event
Newington Arena, 300 Alumni Road, Newington, CT
- Starts at 7pm – Ends about 8:20p
- Lights, Music by DJ Zig Zag
- Skating Skate Rental available first come first serve.
- Children under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
- There is an In-House Café and lobby seating for spectators.
- Admission $10, Skate Rental $3
Please contact Jackie Turro at  with any questions/information click here visit

Penguin Plunges
The Chill is in the air. Seasons are changing. It’s that time of year again. We’re Freezin’ for a Reason.
Save the dates - More information to come. Click on the date for more information on the plunges!

February 10, 2012 – Ocean Beach Park, New London, CT

February 25, 2012 – Crystal Lake, Middletown, CT

March 24, 2012 – Crystal Lake, Ellington, CT

**If Athletes, parents and/or volunteers are interested in attending any of the upcoming events please contact the Eastern Region Office at 860-887-1555.**


Northwest Regional News  

It’s time to start thinking about Freezin for A Reason!!! That’s right….Penguin Plunge 2012. The Northwest Region has three plunges this year – Farmington at Winding Trails, January 29, 2012 registration at 8 a.m. and plunge at 10 a.m., Middlebury at Lake Quassy Amusement Park, March 11, 2012, registration at 10 a.m and plunge at 12 noon and Danbury at Candlewood Lake Park on March 18th, registration at 10 a.m. and plunge at 12 noon. For more information on how to participate please contact the office at (203)267-6566.

Upcoming Law Enforcement Torch Run Events

November 5 – 5k Cross Country Race at Tarryville Park in Danbury, sponsored by Danbury Police Department. The event begins with the Kid’s Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. for ages 6 – 11 years old. The registration fee is $5.00. 5k race on scenic cross country course begins at 10 a.m. Registration is $25. T-shirts to the first 150 registered. Medals will be awarded to all the Fun Run participants. Awards given to the top two male and female runners in each division for the 5k. For more information (203)791-1324 or 203-994-2732 or email at All checks should be made out to Special Olympics Connecticut.

November 12 – Cop on Top at The MarketPlace in Avon, sponsored by Avon, Canton and Simsbury Police Departments, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

November 16 – Tip  A Cop at Cosi’s of Avon, Sponsored by Avon Police Department, 5 – 9 p.m. 10% of all sales, eat in or take out will benefit Special Olympics Connnecticut.

November 25 – Tip A Cop at Chili’s in New Britain, sponsored by the New Britain Police Department, 5 – 9 p.m.

November 25 – Tip A Cop at Dunkin Donuts, 834 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, Sponsored by the Simsbury Police Department, 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Committee Members needed….
The Northwest Region LETR is planning two really exciting events for 2012. We are in need of volunteers who would like to be the events committee. We are looking for people who are creative, have good ideas and are willing to donate some time. Please call Sharon at (860)484-9283 if you are interested in sitting on a committee.


Southwest Regional News  

Seaside Park SPLASH & STROLL to benefit Special Olympics SET For November 12th
Bridgeport law enforcement entities will join forces with Special Olympics, WICC’s
Mike Bellamy and Storm, mascot of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Team, to present the November 12, 2011. All are invited to plunge into the chilly waters at Seaside Park, take a
2-mile walk along the boardwalk or do both – make a splash & go for a stroll to support Special Olympics athletes!
Seaside Park is located at 1 Barnum Dyke (at the end of Park Avenue) in Bridgeport.
Registration begins at noon. The walk starts at 1 p.m. and the plunge will take place at 2 p.m. WICC’s Mike Bellamy will host the event and Storm, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers mascot will lead the walk. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. To find out more or to request a registration packet, contact Special Olympics at 203-380-9990, ext. 604 or email To register online, go to Click on “event calendar”; click on “Special Events”; Go to November 12th and click on “more” and go to the bottom of the page and hit “click here” and continue with registration. Print the waiver form and bring the signed waiver form to the event. (The waiver must be signed by a parent or guardian if a participant is under 18 years old.) The registration fee is $20.00 to walk ($10.00 for children 15 and under); $50.00 to plunge or $50.00 to walk AND plunge. All participants will receive a souvenir gift and snacks and beverages will be provided. Participants in the plunge should be at least 8 years old and are encouraged to wear a costume, team jersey or bathing suit. Towels and water shoes are recommended.  Walkers may be any age (children must be accompanied by an adult) and should wear comfortable clothes and shoes. No pets please. Companies, individuals and groups that would like to sponsor the event for $100 will be recognized with their name on a sign in the sand. For a donation of $500, six signs with the donor’s name will be displayed along the walk path.

Monroe Police to Hold 2nd Annual Plunge at the Park, Sunday, December 11th
Don’t miss out on a fun day at the lake by participating in the Monroe Police Department’s 2nd Annual Plunge at the Park to benefit Special Olympics. All are invited to “take the plunge” to support local Special Olympics athletes at Great Hollow Lake in Wolfe Park, located at the end of Doc Silverstone Drive, on Sunday, December 11th (2011).  Preregister online at as an individual or as part of a team with friends, relatives, colleagues, or classmates. To request a registration packet or find out more, call 203-380-9990 or email Also, become a fan on Facebook under “Monroe Plunge Connecticut.” Check-in on the day of the event will begin at 11 a.m. and the plunge will take place promptly at 1 p.m. Preregistration is strongly encouraged, but same day registrants are also welcome.
Sponsors, who would like to make either a donation of $250 or in gifts in kind and be recognized with a listing on the t-shirt all the plungers will be wearing, are being
sought for the event, as are donated items, food and beverages, and gift certificates from area businesses for the prize drawing that will be held that day. If you can help, contact Sgt. Peter Howard, Monroe Police Department at 203-452-4830 ext. 1313 or via e-mail at All who are 8 years old and over are invited to take the plunge – and dash into Great Hollow Lake in the company of friends for a good cause. Participants should wear a costume, team jersey or bathing suit. Towels and water shoes are recommended. Event t-shirts will be provided. Those that are under 8 years of age or who do not wish to plunge can still participate by donning a unique one-of-a- kind “Don’t Be a Chicken!” t-shirt. A minimumdonation of $50 per plunger or “chicken bystander” and signed waiver form are required of each participant. (If a plunger is under 18, a parent or guardian’s signature is also required.) Spectators are welcome.

Thank you to the police officers from Trumbull and Monroe who hosted Tip-A-Cops in October and served wonderful dishes to diners for “tips” to benefit Special Olympics!
Trumbull Police, led by Detective Brian Weir, held their annual event at Marisa’s
Ristorante on Friday, October 21st and Monroe Police, led by Sgt. Pete Howard hosted their Tip-A-Cop on Saturday, October 29th at Roberto's Restaurant.


Planned Giving
An athlete's future can begin today… Create a legacy of acceptance & inclusion. Please consider Special Olympics in your will or estate plan.  For more information about Special Olympics Planned Giving opportunities click here.

The Champion, News for Champions of the Movement
The Champion, News for Champions of the Movement, is a Quarterly Newsletter. To subscribe to The Champion please contact Liza Nolan by e-mail at or by phone at 203.230.1201 ext 241. 
To read page one of the newsletter, click
here to read page two!

Board of Directors  

Fishing Tournament
A big thank you to Board Member Nancy Dennin and past Board Member Joe Dennin who attended the Fishing Tournament on October 1st at Merwin Meadows Pond in Wilton, CT. There were 45 Athletes and Unified Partners that caught over 100 fish; it really turned out to be a great day for fishing.   Also a huge thank you to Honorary Board Member Taylor Lupica who provided the food, t-shirts and awards for the tournament. The Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited were there in full force, led by Mike Law. They served as Unified Partners and Judges, helped the athletes throughout the day and also provided scholarship money.  Honorary Board Member Dickon Pownall-Gray provided scholarship money and help with the cost of the tournament.  Dick Emmons from CARE was also on site doing a clinician on casting.  And of course, we can't forget actor Charles Grodin who attended to hand out the medals and awards to the athletes.

Connecticut Association of Schools Unified Sports School Based Program  



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