Reorganization Update: Region 5

We are pleased to announce that we will be piloting our Reorganization Plan in Region 5 which includes our current Programs in Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, Bethlehem, Berks, Monroe and Schuylkill. A small group of Reorg Team members recently met individually with all seven local Programs in Region 5 to share info about the reorg and listen to input and feedback. Based on the outcome of these meetings, we are underway with the Transition and Implementation phases.

Region 5 was selected as the pilot because:

  1. All local Programs in Region 5 are currently healthy, and we are fortunate to have a lot of experienced volunteer leaders and coaches in this Region. We will definitely count on them to help lead the development of our regionalization model for the rest of the state.
  2. There are strong community and school-based programs in the region that will facilitate sharing of best practices across the region.
  3. There is capacity for growth in athletes, volunteers, and donors which includes Unified Champion School programming.
  4. Region 5 is representative of PA as a whole with a mix of rural and urban areas.

As we bring all Region 5 programs together, our goal is to work as a seamless volunteer/staff team to do more and better for our athletes. Regionalization should help us operate more efficiently and effectively, but for the most part the process should be transparent to our athletes.

Change is never easy, but our reorganization prepares us to better meet the needs of our athletes for the next 50 years. We want to thank and acknowledge our Region 5 Program Leaders for stepping up and being a part of our exciting future.

Troy Jackson’s Healthy Lifestyles story

Note: This entry was published in the Summer 2019 Edition of the Special Olympics Athlete Review (SOAR) newsletter.

By Troy Jackson

I’ve been involved with Special Olympics for the past 14 years and have enjoyed every moment of it. Two years ago, I happened to get an e mail with a newsletter called SOAR. When I first opened it, I saw some amazing stories from other athletes whose accomplishments on and off the field empowered them to accomplish other great things within their community.

As soon as I finished reading SOAR, I immediately started typing up a story for the next edition. In that story, I talked about my athletic accomplishments and how Special Olympics has helped me develop a positive mindset, eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. Shortly after I submitted my story, I found out that there was a position for athletes like me that were interested in promoting a healthy lifestyle.

The name of the training I went through was called “Healthy Lifestyles,” which then allowed me to become a Health and Fitness Coordinator. I’ve had amazing experience as a Health and Fitness Coordinator by leading Healthy Habits discussions, organizing health and fitness clubs and helping my fellow athletes set personal sports and fitness goals.

In the last 14 years, I’ve made several new friends and look forward to many great opportunities down the road!

– Troy Jackson, Bucks County

As a result of my accomplishments locally, I then got the opportunity to instruct Healthy Lifestyles at Athlete Leadership University the last two years. After continuing with my practicum, I then got to graduate with a degree in health during the Athlete Leadership University graduation ceremony. The same weekend, I also became trained as a global messenger so I can tell even more people about my accomplishments and how Special Olympics can empower them to live a healthier lifestyle.

Additionally, this is also my first year coaching for flag football. I feel the skills I have picked up as a Health and Fitness Coordinator will help me greatly so that other athletes can achieve their personal bests! In the last 14 years, I’ve made several new friends and look forward to many great opportunities down the road!

Troy Jackson is an Athlete Leader from Bucks County and has been participating in Special Olympics for 14 years. Troy is a member of the Athlete Leadership University Class of 2019. Outside of Special Olympics, Troy enjoys practicing martial arts and cooking.

York County’s Jonathan Martin competing at SONA Golf Championships

From September 22-25, 2019, York County golfer Jonathan Martin will compete at the Special Olympics North America Golf Championships in Nashville, TN. This is the second time this international tournament has been held in Nashville, Tennessee. It was previously held in Nashville two decades ago during its inaugural year. 

More than 230 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners, representing 23 U.S. and Canadian Special Olympics Programs compete at Hermitage Golf Course in five different divisions. Jon is competing at Level 4 and is joined by his caddie Nathaniel Martin and coach Martha Martin.

UPDATE: In his first round of the tournament, Jonathan shot a 53. In his second round, he shot a 52, for a two-day total of 105.

In his final round, Jonathan shot a 50, giving him a total of 155, good for second place in Level 4, Division 3! Congrats, Jonathan!!

LGPA professional golfer In-Kyung Kim (I.K. Kim) welcomed the delegations at the Opening Ceremonies and will spend time with them throughout the tournament.

Special Olympics Washington County helps celebrate Sheetz opening

On Wednesday, Special Olympics Pennsylvania — Washington County athletes, volunteers friends and family gathered at the grand opening of the Race Track Road Sheetz store in Washington County.

Athletes were on hand to help with the ribbon-cutting ceremony and sample some of the best food and drinks Sheetz has to offer!

Throwback Thursday: QVC staff volunteers at Fall Fest

At the 30th Anniversary of Fall Festival last year, QVC sent 30 volunteers to Villanova’s campus to participate in the fun! Pictured are some of the QVC volunteers with the Area M soccer team.

The QVC team is planning to volunteer again at this year’s Fall Fest and if you’d like to join them, simply visit our website for more information.

Photo and information provided by Kristen Skutch.