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December 2011/January 2012

 Feature Story
 Stars of the Month
 Important News
 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  

 Special Olympics Connecticut Year-End Giving Campaign

You know it when you see it – that determined look, that extra mile, that pat on the back, that enormous smile. It’s the power of sports. For people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities, develop belief in themselves, and feel like champions. You can give thousands of local athletes the opportunity to compete for another year by donating. Click here to make your donation today!

Stars of the Month  

As the year comes to a close, each region was asked to nominate one specific person, or groups of people of whom they thought should be recognized for their contribution towards the success of 2011. Thank you to all volunteers who continuously give up their time to help make Special Olympics Connecticut what it is, we truly would not be able to do what we do without you, so to us you are all a star!
Eastern Region: The University Of Connecticut, Office of Community Outreach

The University Of Connecticut, Office of Community Outreach is the Star of the Month in the Eastern Region.  The student organization supports Special Olympics Connecticut and the Eastern Region throughout the year in a variety of ways.  The support includes, community service days, groups of student volunteers sent to single day special events, supporting plunges and bowling competitions, hosting our dodge ball fundraiser and sponsoring a R word campaign in March.  The highlight for the year is when the students serve as the games organizing committee for our 5 aside and 7 aside soccer qualifier “The Husky Classic Soccer Tournament” on the University’s main campus.  The committee meets January through May and oversees use of the facility, opening ceremonies, lunch, Olympics Town, officiating and day of management.  The event has grown over the last several years to having 383 athletes and unified partners in 2011.  Thank you to the 150 volunteer students from UCONN.  We look forward to next year’s event.

Northwest Region: Hotchkiss School Lakeville, CT

The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT held there 17th annual Special Olympics CT Northwest Region Swim-a-thon on Sunday Oct. 23rd. 109 swimmers (a new Swim-a-thon record!), lots of students, faculty and supporters, attended the event and over $5,000 was raised.  Also participating in this year’s swim-a-thon were 12 students from Kent School, thanks to the support and recruiting efforts of Ken'ts swin coach, Kevin Saxton. The Swim-a-thon has raised over $60,000 over the years for SOCT’s Northwest Swim Team. A big thanks to Aquatics Director of Hotchkiss Keith Moon and his swim team for putting on another great and exciting event!

Southwest Region's Local Coordinators
When reflecting on the year 2011, and trying to pinpoint someone who has shined, someone who has made a difference, someone who has consistently given to this organization, the answer is simple.  I would like to take this time to recognize every Local Coordinator in the Southwest Region.  All 36 of you do a phenomenal job every year in keeping our local programs active, organized, and happy.  The endless amounts of paperwork, and the immense amount of hours you put in to ensuring your athletes have the very best programs and competitions available is truly admirable.  Every one of you brings something different to the table and in a combined effort you make the Southwest Region successful.  You are truly our MVP's and we would like to thank you for everything you do!

Important News  

Flag Football Invitational at St. Joseph's High School

Special thanks go out to St. Joseph’s High School in Trumbull for once again hosting a Unified Flag Football Invitational.  The entire football team came out to provide clinics and instruction to our teams from Danbury and North Haven.  A scrimmage meet was held after the clinics and the day wrapped up with a cook out provided by the St. Joe’s families.
Team North Haven attended the New England Flag Football event at Gillette Stadium and came home with a gold medal.  This team has truly grown with this sport from just a few years ago.  Congratulations to all of their athletes and partners who participated in this event.
Any programs interested in learning more about how to get a Flag Football program started please contact Laurie-Jean at

Click on the facebook logo to see more pictures from the event!


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.

'Tis the season...

Are you ready to take the plunge?
Click on the plunges below to register and start fundraising today!

Farmington Penguin Plunge
January 29, 2012
Winding Trails
Winsted Penguin Plunge
February 4, 2012
Highland Lake
Madison Penguin Plunge
February 11, 2012
Hammonasset Beach State Park
New London Penguin Plunge
February 12, 2012
Ocean Beach Park
Middletown Penguin Plunge
February 25, 2012
Crystal Lake
Middlebury Penguin Plunge
March 11, 2012
Lake Quassy Park
Westport Penguin Plunge
March 10, 2012
Compo Beach
Danbury Penguin Plunge
March 18, 2012
Candlewood Lake Park
Ellington Penguin Plunge
March 24, 2012
Crystal Lake

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  

*We have had a set of keys which were left at an event at our office for quite a long time now. They have a tennis racket keychain, a Special Olympics Connecticut keychain and a whole lot of keys on it. If anyone is missing these keys, please contact Katie @ (203) 230-1201 ext. 272 ASAP!

Holiday Sports Classic Recap – November 19 & 20
The Holiday Sports Classic was held the weekend before Thanksgiving with over 2,200 athletes and partners competing in Unified Basketball, Unified Volleyball, Volleyball Skills, Powerlifting, Unified Bowling and Traditional Bowling.  Congratulations to all of our athletes and partners who competed and many thanks to all of the committee members, volunteers and sponsors who worked tirelessly to assure the success of these games.

Please take a moment to complete the below Zoomerang Survey (before 12/14) and tell us what you thought of Holiday Sports Classic 2011!

Unified Basketball 

Bowling Venue in East Haven

Bowling Venue in Milford 



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 Quinnipiac University in Hamden from 9:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.  Anyone interested in attending, please contact Laurie-Jean at by Dec. 2.

Unified Triathlon
This new sport will be introduced to SOCT athletes and partners in the spring of 2012.  This is a team sport with 2 athletes and 1 partner competing as team members.  Each team member will choose what leg of the triathlon they will complete, whether it is a one mile run, a 500 meter swim (20 laps) or a 3 mile bike race.  For more information contact Laurie-Jean at

Winter Games Coaches Meeting
The 2012 Winter Games Coaches meeting will be held on Sunday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. at the CAS Building located on Realty Drive in Cheshire.  The Winter Games will take place on March 3 & 4, 2012. 

Sports Equipment
A teacher from the RHAM school district organized a Make a Difference Day in November where they collected quite a bit of good used sporting equipment for SOCT.  If any program can use any of the following items please contact Katie Dennett at 203-230-1201 x272 or
• Snowboards
• Alpine Skis, boots & poles
• Cross Country Skis & boots
• Tennis rackets
• Bicycles
• Hockey Helmets
• Golf Clubs
• Softball Bats, Gloves
• Bocce Set

Unified Sports
A National task force has been working on clarifying how Unified Sports is best interpreted not just in Connecticut, but around the USA and around the World.  All Unified coaches need to watch for future publications in the Enewsletter in regards to 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. 

Hall of Fame nominations
All local programs are encouraged to submit nominations to this annual event; for applications contact Kelli Bigelow at SOCT at
kellib@soct; applications are also attached to this enewsletter

Resource Corner
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.

Development Department News  


“Share the Love” with Special Olympics at Your Local Subaru Dealer. We’re proud to be one of five charitable partners in the Subaru “Share the Love” event. Subaru knows their owners care. That’s why they created the “Share the Love” event. You get a great deal on a new Subaru and they’ll donate $250 to your choice of five charities, one of which is Special Olympics. Over the last three years, they’ve donated nearly $15 million dollars to charity.  They hope to donate another five million by sharing the love again this year.
Funds donated to Special Olympics will benefit our programs in local communities across the United States helping us to provide greater services for our athletes. Whether you are in the market for a new Subaru or you know someone who is, be sure to pick Special Olympics as your “Share the Love” event charity and help support our athletes. Learn more by visiting

AT&T Holiday Promotion
AT&T and Special Olympics have announced the launch of a new cause-related marketing initiative to support the organization and its mission to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. As part of this initiative, AT&T will make a donation to Special Olympics
in the amount of $40 for each online purchase made on eligible AT&T products and services through our partnership micro site, The donations program runs from May 9, 2011 through February 29, 2012.

“Special Olympics makes a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of athletes and their families,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.  “AT&T is proud to be a sponsor and supporter of Special Olympics’ mission, and with the help of customers and supporters, we are excited to assist the organization as it transforms communities with programs that drive acceptance, inclusion and respect.”

AT&T is also deeply committed to enriching and strengthening diverse communities and has a long history of supporting Special Olympics efforts. By sharing unique moments with Special Olympics athletes and teams, while at the same time raising
funds for the organization, AT&T is able to support athletes, their families and  communities.

“Thanks to individuals and to unique corporate programs like this new AT&T initiative, we are able to continue to enrich and advance the lives of athletes and their communities,” said Brady Lum, President and Chief Operating Officer, Special Olympics.

P & G Brand Saver
It’s time again for our P&GbrandSAVER® program! P&G has been a valued partner of
Special Olympics for over 30 years and we are thrilled to, once again, be a part of this valuable promotion. Keep an eye out for your P&GbrandSAVER® coupon books in your local newspaper on Sunday, January 1, 2012. This year’s promotion is based on coupon redemption: Special Olympics receives 3 cents for every coupon used. There is no limit to the gift, so the more you redeem the coupons or encourage your friends and family the greater the money raised for Special Olympics.  And don’t forget the savings for you -- the P&GbrandSAVER® coupon book includes more than $109 in savings on many of your favorite brands! The coupons expire January 31, 2012, so don’t wait too long to start clipping and saving! This is a great opportunity to raise money for
Special Olympics and to continue to spread our message of respect, acceptance and
inclusion. To find your local newspaper that carries the P&GbrandSAVER® coupon book please click here.

Penguin Plunges Are Upon Us!
Don't miss the opportunity to participate in one of Special Olympics Connecticut's coolest fndraisers! Join hundreds of other penguins who are "Freezin' for a Reason" as they raise funds and take the plunge for SOCT!

Coventry Penguin Plunge, Saturday, December 3- Patriot's Park, Coventry CT
Winsted Penguin Plunge, Saturday, February 4- Highland Lake, Winsted, CT
Madison Penguin Plunge, Saturday, Februrary 11- Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison, CT

Visit or click here to register for a plunge near you today!

Thank you to our Sponsors
Special Olympics Connecticut would not be able to provide year round athletic training and competition to our 6,437 athletes without the support of our sponsors. A heartfelt thank you goes out to those who contribute to changing the lives of our athletes!

Thank you to Law Enforcement
A big thank you to all of the law enforcement officers who have contributed their time and effort to raising funds and awareness for our athletes through our LETR program this year. Your continued dedication is changing attitudes and changing lives!

Eastern Regional News  

2011 Eastern Region Bowling Qualifier- Friendly Bowl
On October 29th the Eastern Region Bowling Qualifier was held at Friendly Bowl in Brooklyn, CT. Three delegations participated: Mansfield/Tolland, Quinebaug Valley and Plainfield. The pending storm didn’t stop these bowlers from striking up their excitement for an awesome day. A big thank you goes to Friendly Bowl, Geri White and all the volunteers for helping make this event such a success. Great Job Bowlers!

Norwich Free Academy – Norwich Bowling Alley
On November 9th Norwich Free Academy held their end of the season Bowling Tournament at the Norwich Bowling Alley. Athletes enjoyed watching staff members: Gary Makowicki,(Athletic Director),Ross Sward (Tirrell House Principal), and John Iovino (Director of Student Affairs) rolled up their sleeves and bowled with them. Lisa Wheeler (Director of Student Services) helped and cheered on all participants.

After an exciting day of bowling everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch of pizza provided by Norwich Bowing Alley’s Café.  A special thank you goes to Karen Dicrosta and Dawn Tate, Norwich Free Academy Staff, and the Norwich Bowling Alley for making this such an enjoyable and successful event. Great Job Bowlers!

**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.**

CT Whale Bowl-a-Thon

We didn’t have final numbers or photos available when we went to print, but the entire CT Whale roster and their staff deserve a huge holiday thankful for another successful Bowl-a-Thon!  Click here
for even more photos and our final fundraising amounts!

Dodging for Dollars
A BIG thank you goes out to the UCONN Office of Community Outreach and the organizing committee for the 4th Annual Dodging for Dollars Dodgeball Tournament.  Check our SOCT Facebook page and click here 
for event photos!

Penguin Plunges
The Chill is in the air. Seasons are changing. It’s that time of year again. We’re Freezin’ for a Reason. Click on the links provided below for registration and more information. If you need posters or brochures please let us know.

Save the dates and Upcoming Events

February 10, 2012
– Ocean Beach Park, New London, CT
Click here for details!

February 23, 2012 – Speed Skating Invitational at Norwich Ice Rink

Always wanted to do the Penguin Plunge but were to CHICKEN??
Want to raise the cash without the Splash?
Want to raise the money for the same Reason just without the Freezin?

Come to Ocean Beach Park in New London for our first Chicken Coop.
Stay warm in our chicken coop and watch the Penguins Plunge.

February 25, 2012 – Crystal Lake, Middletown, CT
Click here for more details!

March 10, 2012 – Windham Swim Meet at Windham High School

March 24, 2012 – Crystal Lake, Ellington, CT
Click here for details!

**Thank you**
As 2011 comes to a close, we wanted to thank everyone for such a successful year. Our accomplishments would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of our athletes, unified partners, local coordinators, Law Enforcement Torch Run, coaches, volunteers, sponsors, venues, families, friends and staff.  We would like to wish you a safe and happy Holiday Season ~ Marc, Tim, Jackie, Sarah and Tawnya.

Northwest Regional News  

Penguin Plunge Season

The Northwest Region will be holding their Penguin Plunges as follows:
Farmington – January 29th. Registration at 8 a.m. and plunge at 10 a.m.
Middlebury – March 11th. Registration 9 a.m. and plunge at 12 noon
Danbury – March 18th. Registration at 9 a.m. and plunge at 12 noon.

Jason Broad of Bethel Police Department was chosen to attend the International Law
Enforcement Conference in Calgary. He had a great experience and came back energized and ready to recruit others to help with fundraising.  

We can all help by recruiting….”Just One More”….to donate, to participate. Do your part…
Go get just one more!!!! 

LETR Events
Danbury Police Department held a very successful Tip A Cop at Chuck’s Steakhouse on
October 27th from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. The event raised over $1,500. Awesome job !!

In addition to this event, Danbury Police Department had a 5k Road Race planned for November 5th, but Mother Nature had other ideas and blessed us with a ton of snow and lack of power. Despite the event being cancelled, it still raised over $1,000. Thank you to all the generous sponsors who continued to support Special Olympics and the LETR despite the cancellation.

On Friday, October 28th a Tip a Cop at the 99 Restaurant was held by the Torrington Police Department. Special thanks go out to Lt. Kerwin Anders and all the officers who came out and worked the event. The officers successfully raised over $1,500.

Upcoming Events…..

Canton, CT- The Canton, Avon and Simsbury Police Departments are holding a Tip A Cop on
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at Flatbread Company from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.  During this time Flatbread Company will donate $3.50 for each large pizza and $1.50 for each small flatbread. Officers will be on hand to help serve the public and to educate patrons about the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Patrons are asked to “Tip A Cop” as a donation to Special Olympics. For more information please call Sharon Pelkey at Special Olympics Northwest Region at (860)484-9283.

2012 Basketball Invitational 

The 2012 Northwest Region Basketball Invitational will be held on March 24, 2012 at Holy Cross High School and other surrounding Waterbury Schools. Last year we experienced a high volume in registrations causing us to reduce the number of teams from participating in the event. Our goal at Special Olympics Connecticut Northwest Region is to provide a safe, fun and competitive environment at our competitions. That being said, we will be making some changes to how we run this event allowing us to include all teams (new and old) in the

Specifically, we will be breaking down the day into two different sessions; a morning session which will include the lower divisions and an afternoon session which will include the higher divisions. After each session there will be an awards ceremony. This will allow us to include more teams in the day’s schedule and will provide more space for additional
new teams.

The time of Opening Ceremonies will remain the same time at mid day after the first session is complete. We will invite all morning sessions to be involved with Opening Ceremonies and we will ask all afternoon teams to come earlier so that they don’t miss
Opening Ceremonies before their afternoon session takes place.

The final plan is not completed yet, but we wanted to give everyone a “heads up” on the date and what is to come for 2012. As always, thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions regarding this memo, please contact Program and Volunteer Coordinator, Rebecca Brookshire at 203-267-2666 or

Special Olympics Connecticut Unified Running Team

2011 Cross Country Season Summary
After the successful 2010 where the team celebrated its 20th successful campaign by competing in the 200 mile relay race across the state of Florida, the team returned to its regular season set of races, competing twice in September in Connecticut before asking to the road in Rhode Island and Washington, DC in the month of October.  Each race provided significant competition and we were fortunate enough to avoid the worst of the weather troubles that have gripped the area.  We were happy to report that we achieved our goals to add to our team numbers and see improvement of the performance of some of our veterans versus the previous year.

After four weeks of official training, the team used the New Haven Labor Day 5k/20k Race to open the season.  Twenty-six veteran team members competed on a warm and humid Monday morning.  The most noteworthy performance was lodged by Mitch Vecchione as he continues to build off of his impressive performance in Florida last November.  He finished 326 overall out of 3221 runners on his way to a new personal record of 22:47 for the 5k.  Dale Canale ran his fastest time at this race in 35:23, improving over 30 seconds from 2010.  Nicole Fabricore started her third decade competing with the team, completing the course in 40:36.  Patrick Kral, veteran of the World Games Marathon in Ireland and Beijing, was our sole entrant in the 20k event where he finished in 2:06:39. With a few more weeks of training under our belts, the team competed in Southport, CT.  It was delightful morning to run, especially this race sponsored by Bigelow Tea Company which has welcomed and supported the team’s participation for many years. Twenty-one members of the team joined 506 other runners in running the 5k race.  9 out of 17 runners improved on their New Haven time over this more challenging course.  Kyle Wadlinger, another veteran of the World Games Marathon in Beijing, began to round into shape, shaving almost 2 minutes from New Haven time while finishing in 27:21.  Kristine Klarman also improved significantly in breaking 28 minutes (27:53).  Madelyn Maegher finished 6th place in her age group with a time of 37:56.  In total, eleven runners broke 29 minutes while only five accomplished this feat in New Haven and everyone finished under 40 minutes.

Next, the team started its Unified competitions at the Annual SO Rhode Island Cross Country Invitational.  Special Olympics Rhode Island again hosted to an impressive dinner followed by a dance the evening before the competition.  The following day brought perfect weather to run the course comprised of grass fields and horse trails.  The heavy rains of earlier in the week made the trail section challenging at times but this is normal for a cross country competition.  Again, 21 runners participated for the CT Unified team.  We were very pleased to see three new members compete for the first time. Mark Dunnels showed much promise in completing the 5k unified race with partner, Peter Webster, while Indy McCormick with partner Ellen Mckinley and Mike Poirier joined veterans Bobby and Patrick Hedden in competing in the 3k Unified race.  All earned medals for their efforts. There were some impressive showings from the veteran unified teams as well with many gold medals awarded.  Although cross country course is not conducive to fast times, the team still had five members run their fastest times of the year.  Tracy LaRue (Florida Relay competitor last year), Sean Wadlinger (Ireland and Beijing World Games Marathon competitor), Kyle Wadlinger and Mike Wadlinger Sr all improved over one minute, while Mike Wadlinger Jr also shaved time off his previous best this season. Although the Rhode Island competition ended the season for many of the team, six competitors travelled to Washington DC to compete in the Marine Corp Marathon 10k Unified Running competition.  Although the snow storm made the travel to DC more challenging, we were greeted with clear skies the following day.  However, the race time temperatures were close to the freezing mark which made the many highway overpasses treacherous.  Despite many of the 7000 competitors taking spills, our members came out unscathed and finished well.  Mitch Vecchione and Kevin Grimes won the award as the fastest Unified team in the competition while Matt Klemets and Will Hammond earned gold medals in winning their division.  After setting a personal best in the 5k the week before (24:34), Will improved on his 2010 time, narrowly missing breaking 53 minutes.  Michael and Madelyn Maegher finished second in their division in a very close competition with only seconds separating their time and the gold medal team.  Michael had an impressive showing finishing in 1:09:13 having a pace for 10k faster than his 5k pace earlier in the season. All in all, it was another successful season for the team.  We encourage all team members
to continue to train on their own and enter competitions throughout the year. 

advise any results from competitions that are entered so I can include them in future news bulletins.  It will be our goal again next year to expand our membership and improve everyone’s performance.  Therefore, please spread the word to those who enjoy running, especially in the Special Olympic competitions around the State and continue to train consistently to maintain and improve conditioning.

Southwest Regional News  

Bender Financial Group's Annual Golf & Tennis Tournament

The Bender Financial Group hosted its Fifth Annual Golf & Tennis Tournament benefitting Special Olympics on September 19th at the Country Club of Darien. The event raised over $60,000. The Gold Sponsor was Northwestern Mutual Financial Network/The Bender Financial Group. Silver Sponsors included The Fairfield Financial Group and Shoff Darby Insurance Company. Fairfield County Bank was a Bronze Sponsor.

Seaside Park Splash & Stroll Presented by Bridgeport Law Enforcement

The first-ever Seaside Park Splash & Stroll took place on Saturday, November 12th. WICC's Mike Bellamy hosted the event, Bridgeport Chief Joe Gaudette participated in the walk and plunged, and STORM - the Bridgeport Sound Tigers hockey team mascot led the walk. Senator Blumenthal also made an appearance to greet and thank participants. Bridgeport law enforcement officers, volunteers, and the walkers and brave plungers came together to create a day that was fun, and had an important purpose - to support Special Olympics! A great group from Junk My Car also participated and community businesses sponsored the event.

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 minimum donation 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 all Local Coordinators, coaches, committee members, and volunteers for another fantastic year in the Southwest Region.  We had a number of successful events, and some thrilling competitions and we couldn't have done any of it without all your help. Year after year, you all give so much of your time and of yourselves to our organization and it is your generosity and hard work that makes everything work and worthwhile.  We wish you all the best holiday season and health and happiness in the New Year.


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.

Click here
to read page two!

Board of Directors  

Board Retreat
Special thanks to Chairman Rick Allen who ran a Board Retreat on October 15th at the Omni Hotel in New Haven, CT.  Special guests included Robyn Markey, Director of Organizational Development for Special Olympics North America; Nicole Engdahl, Director – Gift Planning, Marketing & Stewardship at Special Olympics Incorporated and Lou Pear, Unified Sports Director at the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS).
Each presenter was outstanding and brought some new ideas to the Board. Attendees included:  Chairman Rick Allen, Vice Chairman John Riccardi, Lisa Kovlakas, Ken Bowes, Nancy Dennin, Nancy Scirocco, Lewis Chimes, Paul Vitello, Jim Van Hoof and Steve Flynn.

Zahren Reception
A huge thank you to past Board Member Bernie Zahren who opened up his home and hosted a reception on October 16th.  A big thank you to Board Members Paul Vitello,
John McKenna and Ken Bowes who attended the event; and past Board Member Tim Moynahan.

Holiday Sports Classic
The Holiday Sports Classic was held on November 19th & 20th and was extremely successful! Thank you to Board Chairman Rick Allen and Board Members Tom Joyce, Nancy Dennin and Bonnie Smith for attending and supporting the event.  Also to past Board Chairman Dave Cassano.

Annual Board Meeting/Dinner
The Annual Board Meeting/Dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st at 6:00 pm.
The location and more information will be sent out to you once it is confirmed.

Happy Holidays!!
On behalf of the SOCT Staff of Special Olympics Connecticut, I would like to thank each and every Board Member for their dedication and support in 2011.  May you have very happy holidays and looking forward to working with you next year.
All the best,
Beau Doherty, President


Connecticut Association of Schools Unified Sports School Based Program  

This fall has been both busy and exciting with the involvement of over 2000 athletes and partners taking part in ten soccer tournaments and one elementary sports day. As these students walk off their buses they bring genuine enthusiasm with smiles of gladness and the honor of representing their school at a CAS/SOCT state tournament. With their school’s banner in tow they enter the host school’s gymnasium some holding each other’s hands and some with their arms around each other’s shoulders. Webster defines inclusion as “taking in account or to comprise of”. I believe that it is this composition of athletes, partners, coaches, athletic directors, parents, students and corporate volunteers that exemplifies the true meaning of inclusion. Through Unified Sports and Unified Art, schools are embracing these inclusionary attributes making their schools welcoming and engaging communities.
Most recently, one of our athletic directors has shared the following success story with us which is one of many shaping the inclusionary atmosphere in our Connecticut Schools. For the purpose of this article let’s call our special athlete Sarah who is a student with down syndrome. At the beginning of each school year Sarah would dread going to school as students would call her retarded, make fun of her, not join her in the cafeteria and not greet her in the hallway. All of these negative behaviors made the school day and school unwelcoming. Her mother said that getting Sarah to school was a battle and many times she would miss her bus. Then her life was about to change as there was a request for athletes and partners to take part in a Unified Sports team at her school. At first Sarah didn’t know what to make of this opportunity and was a little nervous especially when her assigned partner was the seven foot tall varsity basketball player from her school. In just a few minutes Sarah was smiling and learning from her student mentor the finer points of being a soccer player.  After several practice sessions Sarah was on her way to an away soccer tournament wearing a varsity soccer uniform, taking a chartered school bus and competing with other Unified Sports Schools at a CAS/SOCT soccer tournament, just like the other varsity athletes from her school. The next day she woke up early so she would not be late for the bus and that is when the best part happened. As she walked off her bus and entered her school with her gold medal displayed proudly around her neck she gave her partner a special hug and in return he congratulated her. Other students saw this random act of kindness and also followed suit with additional congratulatory remarks. During school that day and
the days to follow Sarah walked the school hallways as students asked her about her
medal. She ate lunch with her Unified Sports partner and the other players of the
basketball team and most importantly, since that special day, she has never been late
for school. 

Schools such as this one not only include all students in school programs but encourage their student body to cultivate a positive learning environment and make their school community inclusionary and welcoming.

Save the Dates
January 5, 2012  -  Unified Sports Youth Leadership Summit  - Wesleyan Univ.
May 24, 2012   -    Michael’s Cup Unified Sports Award Banquet  - Aqua Turf Club



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