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Local Special Olympics adds new region

Participation and volunteerism gather momentum

With help from the Dartmouth Club of the Upper Valley (DCUV), Special Olympics New Hamsphire has created a new district that will represent both sides of the river, bringing in participants from Vermont as well as the Granite State. Pete Bleyler '61, the first regional director of the new district, says that there are many similarities between the mission of the College and that of Special Olympics. "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt," is the pledge all special athletes take before participating in the games and that spirit "is something I see every day in Dartmouth students," Bleyler said.

Student and alumni participation has been key to Special Olympics success in the area since 2003, when the DCUV hosted and helped launch the first winter games in the Upper Valley, he said. Subsequent winter games were held in 2004 and the games of 2005 will continue to be held at the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, N.H. and Garipay Field in Hanover. 

 "One of the key reasons for our success in 2003 and 2004 was the involvement of so many undergraduates who helped set up the venues and were there working with special athletes during the games," Bleyler said. "As a result, over 100 athletes participated in skiing and snowshoeing and they were supported by 175 volunteers." Not only Dartmouth students, but many others, including DCUV members, the Lebanon High School women's hockey team, the Boy Scout troop from Sharon, Vt., and representatives of the Ford-Sayre ski program, were on hand and plan to pitch in for the 2005 games.

A breakfast fundraiser for Special Olympics Upper Valley will take place in Alumni Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 26, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. All are welcome to attend and anyone needing further information should call Pete Bleyler at (603) 795-9912 or e-mail him at pete.bleyler@valley.net.

Special Olympics offers year-round participation in sports training and athletic competition for all individuals with mental challenges. For more information, visit www.sonh.org and www.vtso.org.

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Last Updated: 12/17/08