Pike County Special Olympics hosts family day

Published 5:52 pm Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Pike County Special Olympics team played host to its first Family Day Saturday, an event that co-head of delegation Meredith Welch said was a success.

“It’s been real good,” Welch said. “We’ve registered eight athletes, and we’ve gotten 30 that signed up prior today.”

Welch said it was important to give potential athletes an opportunity to come out.

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“We wanted to hopefully have the opportunity to recruit new athletes and give all our athletes the opportunity to experience the five sports that we’re going to concentrate on for the state games,” Welch said. “We wanted to give the athletes time to interact with each other and also give the families time to get to know each other.”

Tommy Spivey, father of Special Olympian David Spivey, said the event was successful at uniting families from across Pike County.

“It gives the families an opportunity to get to know each other and allows more kids to be able to participate,” Spivey said. “All of these kids are very special and they have a lot of talents that they just don’t get the opportunity to use in regular school systems. It’s just a great thing.”

However, it wasn’t just athletes and parents who were on hand to get involved with Special Olympics Saturday.

The players and coaches of the Troy University volleyball team were in attendance to assist with some of the events.

“I helped with the Alabama state games, but unfortunately for our team, those are in the middle of May and they’re all gone,” head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick said. “This is a great way for us to help out the kids in Pike County and get involved with the community and try to help out kids that really enjoy what they’re doing. It’s a great way for us to give back.”

Kirkpatrick said his team was enjoying its efforts.

“They have had a great time with the kids,” Kirkpatrick said. “They’ve been very supportive of them and I think they’ve really enjoyed themselves. It’s just something that they’ve never really been able to because the big games come in and they’re all gone. This gives them an appreciation of what they have, and it gives them an opportunity to give back to the kids that don’t have as much as they do.”

Even though Family Day has come and gone, there are still opportunities for Pike County families to get involved.

“Team Pike County is open to anyone with an intellectual disability who is eight years old or older,” Welch said. “We would love to have anybody participate. They can just get in contact with us and we’ll set them up with a sport that they like.”

Those interested can e-mail Welch at mwelch19971@troy.edu.

Click here for photos from Saturday’s Family Day.