2011-08-04 / Local & State

Celebrity Bocce Ball Tourney Scheduled

Special Olympics hosts event set for August 11
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

The telephone lines in Fulton County will be burning up this week, as officials from Special Olympics of Pennsylvania get personal commitments needed to finalize their team roster for an upcoming Celebrity Bocce Ball Tournament.

Set for Thursday, August 11, at 6:30 p.m., the tournament at Lions Club Park in McConnellsburg will feature an array of local dignitaries and officials. Free to the public, the event will wrap up at approximately 8 p.m.

Rich Lewis, senior field director for central Pennsylvania’s division of Special Olympics, told the “News” the goal in showcasing the celebrity tournament is to “attract potential athletes, coaches and volunteers” to participate in future countywide events.

In recent months, Lewis and fellow Special OlympicsĂ­ representatives have been visiting with officials from the three county school districts and various other organizations in hopes of bringing Special Olympics back to Fulton County. As part of their ongoing efforts, Lewis stated grant money has been obtained to cover costs associated with the construction of a portable bocce ball court for use by local schools as well as a court to be placed at a community location.

According to the senior field director, the portable court will be made of PVC pipe with an indoor/ outdoor carpeting to roll the balls across. Due to its portability, the court can be torn down at the conclusion of the season and stored away for future use.

Meanwhile, officials remain hopeful a community group, whether it be a Lions Club, church or alumni group, will step forward and allow another court to be erected on site for use.

Lewis stated various options exist when participating in activities hosted by Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. Unified sports are played with someone possessing an intellectual disability and someone who does not have an intellectual disability. The second or more traditional option would include Special Olympics athletes competing against one another.

“Unified sports is an option if volunteers from the community would like to play also. Usually Unified partners are school age, parents or siblings of athletes or community volunteers,” said Lewis.

Local residents interested in learning about the sport of bocce ball or wanting to volunteer or coach are urged to come out for the Celebrity Bocce Ball Tournament next Thursday. Information can also be obtained by contacting local manager Mindi Graham at 717-485-4054.

Gauging local interest, the possibility exists for the establishment of a locally-based, formal management team. The team would meet year round and plan other Special Olympics events to be offered in county with a goal of two additional sports being offered next year.

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