As we strive to deliver the mission of Special Olympics in Florida our focus rests heavily on providing quality competitions, programs and sponsor experiences across the state. The idea of continuous improvement in each of these areas underpins daily decisions as we reflect on the past and plan for our future. Results of our efforts have been especially evident as we head into the summer months.
Globally, Special Olympics is recognized as a leader in sports, providing excellence in training, coaching and competitive management at all levels. It challenges athletes to develop their personal best through training techniques, interactive coaching, fitness and optimal nutrition guidelines. Our athletes and coaches strive to be their best in competition and training, and to make physical fitness a way of life.
Quality competitive opportunities enhance our athlete and community experience by emphasizing the professionalism of our events and the seriousness of our approach to sports. This was evident at our State Summer Games held in May at ESPN Wide World of Sports, a top-tier venue, where we were able to host an additional 12% of Florida’s athletes as well as provide over 2,600 health care screenings over a two-day span. Another top-tier venue, The Grand Oaks, is known as one of Florida’s premier equine facilities and was the host of our annual State Equestrian Competition, also held in May. While at The Grand Oaks we hosted health screenings for the first time at an equestrian competition to the delight of special guests Janet Froetscher, CEO of Special Olympics International, and Tom Golisano, philanthropist and long-time supporter of Special Olympics health initiatives.
The availability of quality coaches and equipment ensures Special Olympics Florida can continue to reach new athletes and provide quality experiences. With the extraordinary support of our premier sponsor Publix, we have been able to provide unprecedented new equipment, uniform and program support to our training programs. Our new relationships with the United States Tennis Association, YOLO, and Ron Jon Surf Shop ensure that we will continue to be a leader in coach education as well as also provide the highest level and most current technical knowledge to our growing base of athletes and coaches statewide.
This month we’ll cheer for the 180 athletes, coaches and unified partners who will compete at the 2014 USA Games. Both the USA Games and trainings that happen daily are testaments to our efforts to expand coaching and provide quality athlete experiences. As a result, we are propelled even closer to achieving our larger vision: to use sports to inspire people throughout the world – to create a community where everyone has the lifelong opportunity to develop physically, emotionally, and socially through sports, wellness and leadership. We celebrate now and always that our athletes are at the center of our work and the heart of our movement; we will only continue on this trajectory with the support of our families, volunteers, partners and sponsors.
In the spirit of gratitude,
Sherry Wheelock, President/CEO
Special Olympics Florida