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Special-needs athletes to participate in new May Play Day

Special-needs athletes from across Colleton County are being asked to participate in a special May Play Day event this year, as the county’s normally-annually Special Olympic games have been canceled this year.
Normally, Colleton County’s Special Needs and Disabilities Office partners with community non-profit organizations and the Colleton County School District to promote the county’s Special Olympics. These are a day of games for athletes who are mentally or physically-disabled.
This year, however, concerns about the weather and several testing schedules with the school district prevented the county from hosting their own games.
Now, these county entities are instead hosting the May Play Day.
This event is being held on May 3rd at Colleton County Middle School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All athletes with special needs are asked to attend.
The event will include Ring Toss, Tic-Tac-Toe, Walk the Line, Football Toss, Corn Hole, face-painting, bowing and putt-putt. There will also be music and about 14 different activity stations.
Cheerleaders from Colleton County High School will also be on hand to encourage athletes.
The entire event is being sponsored by the Colleton Civitans, the county’s Special Services Office and the Walterboro Elks Lodge.
These three organizations have sponsored the county’s special-needs games in years past.
In all, about 100 special-needs athletes will be participating in this year’s May Play Day event. This includes athletes from all schools in the district, except for Cottageville Elementary and Bells Elementary. These two schools had prior scheduled events.
Moving forward, Colleton County will begin partnering with the state in its designated Special Olympic programs, according to Lynn Beach, lead speech and language pathologist with the Colleton County School District. Beach is heading up this year’s May Play Day and will be assisting in getting Colleton back into the regional Special Olympic games.
According to her, Colleton County is designated as part of Area 8, a regional area that includes Beaufort County, Colleton County, Hampton County, and Jasper County. However, for nearly a decade, Colleton leaders decided to opt out of these state-run games and instead host their own games.
“I don’t know why that decision was made,” said Beach, “but moving forward, we plan to get back into this designated Special Olympics game. Our athletes will have opportunities to advance into the state-level competition and even national games.”
Beach says Colleton did attempt to get into their Area 8 games this year, but the timing was wrong. “We attempted to participate with Area 8 in Bluffton, but that did not work out for us this year. We will look into that next year,” she said.
By participating in the state-designated games, Colleton athletes will be able to advance further into the Special Olympics games, Beach said.

Heather Walters (1494 Posts)