Special Olympics Utah’s Winter Games have been a part of Weber State University and Ogden City for over ten years. Weber State is one of three universities that host events for Special Olympics Utah (SOUT). With the help of thousands of volunteers, over 2,200 people with intellectual disabilities have access to sports training and competition. Many of those who participate as athletes have been able to develop physical fitness, obtain better jobs and enhance their social skills – all of these lead to better lives for people with intellectual disabilities in Utah.
This program has been a support not only to the athletes who participate, but also to the WSU campus surrounding communities. Winter Games requires and brings the support of dozens of student and community volunteers. This improves the social atmosphere at Weber State University through building awareness about the skills and abilities people with intellectual disabilities as well as other diverse groups. The event also brings volunteer and service opportunities for many businesses in the community.
Students have the opportunity to serve on the Winter Games Organizing Committee in a variety of leadership roles; GOC members develop a variety of skills related to event-planning, marketing, sports venue management and more. Roughly 100 athletes attend Winter Games, competing in alpine skiing and snowboarding, cross-country Skiing and snowshoeing. These athletes receive support from approximately 30 GOC members and 150-200 day-of volunteers. The event’s venues include Powder Mountain, North Fork Park and Weber State University.
As a student, I have enjoyed the Special Olympics Utah Winter Games and being involved in activities at Weber State. It has been a benefit to me by providing me with leadership skills, and opportunities to help my peers. I have heard many students talk about how much they love being part of the games, and how they want to be a part of it in the future. ~Paul Guernsey