Wednesday, June 6, 2018

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Summer Special Olympics coming to Dutchess for two years

The announcement was made on the Vassar campus, venue for the 2019 games

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Special Olympics New York Summer games are moving to Dutchess County for 2019 and 2020.  More than 1,700 athletes, coaches and families will converge in Poughkeepsie from June 14-16, 2019 and again on June 19-21, 2020 for a variety of competitions in sports such as softball, basketball, swimming and bowling.

In announcing the move to Dutchess, Vassar College President Dr. Elizabeth Bradley welcomed those gathered on her campus Tuesday by saying "This is a very special opportunity to host the Special Olympics Summer Games.  Vassar's mission is to provide access to opportunities which inspire and help individuals learn and develop in order to lead purposeful lives." 

In 2019, Vassar College will host the games' opening and closing ceremonies featuring the parade of athletes and a weekend-long Olympic Village on the Poughkeepsie campus.  The games themselves will take place at both Vassar College and Dutchess Community College.

Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, a proud parent of an autistic daughter, was at the celebratory announcement and said the county is proud to welcome the athletes, coaches and families back for the summer games. 

“Hosting the Winter Games over a year ago was really transformational,” Molinaro said. “We saw athletes from across the state come here, volunteers in big numbers come out, and it was life-altering. So, to be able to able to host the Summer Games became a priority and I can tell you hosting the Summer Games here in Dutchess County is extremely gratifying.”

According to Dutchess Tourism Inc. President Mary Kay Vrba, "Hosting the summer games has been on our minds ever since the 2017 winter games (hosted by Dutchess County) ended.  The sporting event really requires a community effort in order for it to succeed and Dutchess County has demonstrated that we can do that." 

Special Olympics is the largest amateur sports organization in the world.  The New York chapter has 65,665 athletes making it the largest chapter in North America and the sixth-largest chapter in the world.

The 2019-2020 Special Olympic Summer Games will require extensive local support to be as successful as possible. Local volunteers – individuals or groups – will be needed for various jobs throughout the weekend. For more information and to register online, visit www.specialolympicsny.org or email volunteer@nyso.org. Local businesses and organizations can also provide support through a range of sponsorship opportunities.

For more information about sponsorships, contact Renee Snyder, vice president of Development and Public Awareness, 518-203-8348 or rsnyder@nyso.org; or Teresa Gilli, director of Development at 845-765-2497 Ext. 201 or tgilli@nyso.org


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