An Encounter with Carlsbad 2 Special Olympians
Synopsis: Trip to New Mexico to attend wedding results in chance meeting of Special Olympians.1
Author: Disabled World Contact: Disabled World
Published: 2014-09-01 Updated: 2016-10-02
Recently, Kathleen and I went on a trip to New Mexico to attend her nephew's wedding. We stayed at a hotel where some guests we had not anticipated appeared - Special Olympians! We were pleased to meet, 'Carlsbad2,' who were in Farmington, New Mexico to participate in sporting events.
We traveled from Pueblo, Colorado to Farmington via car and checked into the hotel, tired from being on the road. We relaxed in the swimming pool and then simply called it a night. The next morning we wobbled out to the breakfast bar in search of some hot coffee to find blue and white shirt wearing Special Olympians from New Mexico's Carlsbad2 already awake and eating breakfast. Kathleen and I were pleased to encounter such a wonderful, smiling group of friendly athletes.
Breakfast of Champions
Image yourself being surrounded by athletes from say, the National Football League; how would you feel or expect them to behave? The Members of Carlsbad2 were the essence of polite, friendly, and courteous. Their breakfast seemed to know no bounds, but then - they certainly had a busy day ahead of them. They were very excited about their sporting day ahead, and everything from breakfast cereal to waffles disappeared very promptly.
The athletes were very polite; making sure other travelers had the opportunity to access the breakfast items. Carlsbad2 athletes and their advisers were excited about the swimming, softball and other sports they were going to pursue later in the day. Breakfast was clearly the most important meal of the day. We dined in the breakfast area with the athletes, enjoying conversation about their sports, yet who are these incredible people
Sign out front of the hotel reading, Welcome Special Olympics
Special Olympics New Mexico
The summer of 1968 found a global movement of dignity, empowerment and celebration of the human spirit being launched as 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities gathered on Soldier Field in Chicago for the first Special Olympics International Games. Since that time, Special Olympics have spread around the entire world, reaching more than 3 million athletes in 180 countries. Special Olympics New Mexico became a part of the movement in the 1970's.
Special Olympics New Mexico's first State Competition was held at Milne Stadium in Albuquerque with more than 200 athletes from across the state that competed in an Olympic sanctioned event. The organization continues to evolve, promoting the health and general wellness of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities to train and compete in 13 different sports both locally and state-wide, as well as nationally and internationally. On average, athletes train for more than 90,000 hours a year while gaining self-confidence as they both set and strive for their goals - many of them for the first time in their lives. Sports training and competition is what Special Olympics does; by doing it well it has enriched the lives of not only the athletes, but their family members and the lives of those who enjoy the events.
The ultimate goal of Special Olympics is to help people who experience intellectual disabilities to participate as productive and respected members of society at large by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, as well as by increasing public awareness about their needs and capabilities. Special Olympics New Mexico is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. The Board establishes the policies and approves the programs for the state organization. Special Olympics New Mexico staff is headed by an Executive Director and is responsible for:
- Public education
- Program planning
- Technical support
- Organizational development
All of the funding is raised through individual and corporate donations, as well as foundation grants, state government funding and special events. Special Olympics New Mexico is inclusive of athletes, family members, community and corporate sponsors, donors, volunteers and staff members. The organization pursues unquestionable integrity.
Special Olympics New Mexico makes decisions based on the collective interests of their athletes while remaining mission-driven and athlete-focused. They conduct business in a manner that maintains the highest level of respect and dignity while maintaining systems and processes around organizational governance ensuring fiscal responsibility, transparency, as well as accountability. The organization works to develop the capacity of its athletes so they are engaged in inclusive and meaningful ways that transcend sport. It also embraces the integrity of sport without compromising the rules or the way the game is meant to be played due to disability.
Special Olympics New Mexico - Excellence, Fun and Respect
Special Olympics New Mexico, to include the Carlsbad2 team, pursues their person best with pride, discipline and honor. They demonstrate passion, bringing the Special Olympics mission to life. They take risks and set a high bar. The organization is committed to going the extra mile in order to ensure quality in their interactions, relationships and events. They have established a culture that promotes the stability and sustainability of Special Olympics in the State of New Mexico.
While this sounds like a lot of work and is, the organization celebrates the human spirit through effort and accomplishment. Fun is definitely on the agenda and everyone who participates enjoys the excitement, spontaneity, enthusiasm and laughter that go along with the Special Olympics experience. To the Carlsbad2 team, it is all about, 'the dance,' and experiencing the joy and friendship that comes with belonging to a team.
The organization embraces diversity and accepts all people. It appreciates and shares in the challenges and experiences of Special Olympics athletes and their support systems while showing compassion and belief in each person's potential for success. Special Olympics New Mexico encourages personal freedom to take actions and make decisions using individual skills and talents.
Family and Healthy Athletes
Athletes with Special Olympics New Mexico find themselves with a safe environment that supports personal and social development. The organization creates a sense of belonging where everyone is welcome and appreciated. As the Carlsbad2 team plainly showed, the organization fosters a growing network of families who encourage and support each other through shared experiences.
'Healthy Athletes,' is designed to help Special Olympics athletes to improve their overall health and fitness and lead to enhanced sports experiences while improving well-being. The Special Olympics New Mexico Healthy Athletes Initiative include the following disciplines:
- Fit Feet
- Opening Eyes®
- Healthy Hearing
- Special Smiles®
Special Olympics Healthy Athletes is quickly expanding around the world. During a Special Olympics New Mexico Healthy Athletes event, athletes receive a number of health screenings and services in a series of clinics conducted in a fun and welcoming environment. Volunteer health care professionals and students are trained to provide the screenings in an effort to educate the professional community about the abilities and health needs of people who experience developmental and intellectual forms of disabilities.
Information from the Healthy Athletes venues are entered into a Web-based software application called, 'Healthy Athletes Software (HAS),' system to constitute the biggest database of health data in existence. The health information gathered at events are important for programs, planning, improving policies, gaining support as well as research. The success of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes events depends on partnering.
Special Olympics program staff support the work of trained Healthy Athletes volunteers to provide event-based health opportunities for the athletes. Event managers create an environment for positive interaction between health care professionals, volunteers, Special Olympics athletes and their family members. Equipment, products and cash donations from local, national and international companies help to support the program. Support of the volunteer opportunities by Special Olympics Healthy Athletes provides ongoing community networking for improved access to health care for the athletes, creating a legacy of care and more.
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Full List of Special Olympics Publications Full List of Disabled World News Updates
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