How to make Special Olympics the best day for your Buddy

Sophomore+Emma+Moss+takes+on+the+job+of+buddy+and+plays+with+her+athlete+at+Special+Olympics.

Sophomore Emma Moss takes on the job of buddy and plays with her athlete at Special Olympics.

With the annual Special Olympics less than a week away, preparations finalizing the  day’s events for all the athletes have already begun.

Special Olympics, held at the end of February, is an event in which students with special needs from all over the county come to have a day full of sports and fun. Approximately 400 West students take a day off from the typical school schedule to volunteer for the event.

“I decided to get involved because it is basically the biggest service event held at the school, and I love seeing the little kids get so excited when they make a basket, dance or have their face painted. It feels good when they feel good,” senior Claire Dreller said.

The day consists of an opening ceremony, a rotation of basketball games, a trip to Victory Village, lunch and a closing ceremony.

“My favorite part of Special Olympics is probably when they are all coming in [for the opening ceremony] and we form a tunnel for them while the choir is singing. It’s probably super overwhelming for them but it makes it a legitimate event,” Dreller said.

Many of the available jobs for the event are the position of “buddy.”  As a buddy, volunteers are assigned to a specific student and stay with them at all times to create a memorable day for them.

“People can make their buddies day by focusing more on their buddies rather than their friends or their phones. Also, if they interact more with their buddies, it would make their buddy enjoy the day more because their buddy would not feel awkward,” sophomore Nicole Wang said.

The top priority of a buddy is to make sure the student they are assigned to has a positive day.

“To make their buddies day, I think people should just stick with them, get to know them and try to figure out what they like and then use that. Like, if your buddy loves pink then you can make a pink necklace or something. Just get to know them and make them feel special,” Dreller said.

Along with making their buddy’s day, students like Dreller and Wang have their own Special Olympics experiences and memories to take away.

“My most memorable experience was last year in victory village. There was this one girl I was dancing with and she was having so much fun, [she had] the biggest smile on her face. She had to go out and play but didn’t want to leave because she was having too much fun. It was awesome,” Dreller said.

Wang’s last piece of advice is to “make sure you are enjoying your day along with getting your job done.”

“Special Olympics is only once a year and it is meant to be made fun for everyone and if the buddies see you having fun and making the most of your day, they are guaranteed to enjoy the day more too,” Wang said.