Partners Urgently Needed for Chesterfield Softball!

We are looking for 14 more volunteers to partner with our Chesterfield Athletes in playing Softball starting as soon as possible and ending the beginning of June. Skill not required! The smiles, positive atmosphere, exercise and fresh air is all free!

Due to the number of Athletes in Chesterfield interested in taking part in Softball, SOVA Area 6 has planned our teams with only a few volunteer partners on each team. Special Olympics National Rules requre teams being made up of ALL Athletes or one half partners and one half Athletes. We need more partners to qualify to participate in regional and state games, which are very important to our Athletes. Softball is a difficult sport to field Traditional Teams due to the skill required for pitching. For this reason we have Unified teams to provide pitchers on most of our teams.

Due to the popularity of softball with our Athletes, we have had to add two teams and are currently seeking 14 partners to fill out our Unified teams. Volunteers are welcome to bring a friend to volunteer with them and we will do our best to put them on the same teams. Family members are also welcome to partner with students. We have had many families volunteer as a group in the past. No previous skill is required. For their efforts the partners will get exercise, fresh air, community service hours, be surrounded by a lot of positive people and have a fun with our Athletes and other volunteers. Partners must be 16 in order to take part, or must have a parent or guardian with them if age 14 and 15.

The schedule for Softball is as follows:

Practices:
Held at 1pm, 2pm or 3pm on Sunday afternoons with Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day off. Practice Dates are April 6 and 13 and May 4, 18 and 25. We practice at Bensley Park, 2900 Drewry’s Bluff Road North Chesterfield, VA 23237.(Near Chippenham and Route 1).
Local Tournaments:
April 27 at Warbro Athletic Complex beginning at 8:30 am
June 1 at Bensely Park beginning at 1pm
Regional Tournament:
Bedford, VA on May 16-18. The students could ride the bus with the chaparones and Athletes Friday night, returning Sunday afternoon, or they can come out for the preliminary games on Saturday and the tournament games on Sunday. Those staying the weekend will be provided chaparoned lodging, all meals, Opening Ceremony participation and access to the fireworks and a dance on Saturday night (Saturday dinner, fireworks and dance) are hosted by the Bedford Moose Lodge.
State Summer Games:
If their team is chosen to play in the state tournament, the tournament is held at the University of Richmond and the fields we usually play on are off Glenside Softball Complex in Henrico.

The calendar can be seen on our website www.area6sova.org. Select Calendar from the menu at the top, right. If you need any additional information please contact Karin Koch at 804 382-2637.

Here is an official description of the partner opportunity:

Team sports bring people together. Our Unified Sports® teams include people with and without intellectual disabilities in an effort to shatter stereotypes through positive interaction on the playing field. Join a Unified team today and play alongside the most inspiring teammates you’ll ever meet! To find out if Unified Sports are offered near you and become a Unified Partner, locate Special Olympics near you.

Basketball and a New Partnership – Thank you Blessed Sacrament

Game-Play-1 Special Olympics Basketball season has closed on a high note again this year, with many Athletes in Area 6 taking part and having a great time. Our Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA) Area 6 Tournaments in Goochland and Powhatan were a huge success and the Athletes also enjoyed invitational tournaments at Lee Davis High School in Hanover and U-Turn in Richmond, as well as the James River Regional Tournament held this year for the first time at St. Christopher’s School, also in Richmond.

Game-Play-2 Basketball tournaments are the highlight of the basketball season for our Athletes, coaches and partners. The hard work they put in at practice is shown in action on the tournament courts and Athletes have a great time showing off their improved skills. The fun includes playing basketball, hanging with friends and family, watching their friends’ games, having some fun in ‘Olympic Town’ (an arts and crafts area) and often includes a nice breakfast or lunch too.

None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of the many SOVA volunteers, but often they are joined by volunteers from our tournament venues. This year in place of our Area 6 Basketball Tournament at Powhatan High School, Blessed Sacrament Huguenot offered to host our Powhatan Tournament and provided a wonderful venue, great assistance, and many terrific volunteers. We are hoping our partnership with Blessed Sacrament continues well into the future!

Half-Court-Team-and-Coach-Crystal And of course the networking skills of Pat Fowler, the Powhatan Coordinator for SOVA Area 6 must be mentioned too! Pat Fowler became involved in Special Olympics through her daughter Crystal’s start in tennis in middle school. She took on a leadership role with Special Olympics and with her guidance the program has continued to grow, attracting more Athletes every year. Sports including volleyball, softball and basketball have been added to the SOVA Area 6 Powhatan program thanks to her efforts. When presented with the opportunity to host the Powhatan Tournament at Blessed Sacrament, Pat was diligent in working with leaders of the school and the Area 6 board, coaches and other volunteers to make it happen.

Torch-BearerTwenty-one teams from Powhatan, Goochland, Amelia, Chesterfield and New Kent counties gathered at Blessed Sacrament for the tournament. The tournament began with opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. As part of the opening ceremony the Athletes say the Athlete oath (“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”) and the Pledge of Allegiance, then a torch run concludes the ceremony. The goal of the ceremony, according to Event Coordinator Harry Hancock III, was to “make sure everyone felt special, as they should.”

Volunteer-Refs

SOVA Area 6 would like to thank all the many, many volunteers that made this tournament successful. This includes the Powhatan Moose Lodge which served lunch at this tournament at Blessed Sacrament as they have in the past at Powhatan High School. They provided the food and many volunteers to run the event. There were also the referees, many who are players from BSH sports teams, and the cheering, which along with other fans and family members, included the ‘Knights’ cheering squad. Having people cheering them on really makes the Athletes smile.  There were the concession stand workers, scorekeepers, coaches and managers, all working to ensure a safe, fun and positive atmosphere. Without all these people our events would not be as special as they turn out to be. Thank you all!

Olympic-Town Pat echoes Area 6 goals when saying “It’s all about the Athletes. This is their social time, especially for the ones out of high school who don’t necessarily have a lot of opportunities to interact with one another. This gives them a chance to mingle and find common ground.” The sports provide the venue, but rather than concentrating on competition, Area 6 makes it our goal to provide safe and positive times for our Athletes and volunteers. Practices and tournaments are very important to our Athletes. Fresh air, exercise, getting to know others, both Athletes and volunteers, and learning something new or getting better at it are all benefits of the many SOVA Area 6 programs. Athletes do enjoy winning when it happens, it’s just not an essential element for our Athletes to have a great time and walk out the door after events with big smiles on their faces.

If you would like to become involved in one event, a sport for a season or life, please contact us. Working with our Athletes will change your life for the better.
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For articles on the Powhatan Tournament at Blessed Sacrament in “Powhatan Today” click here: Blessed Sacrament hosts Special Olympics Basketball Tournament” and “Special Olympics: Bringing out the Best in the County” by Mike Schoeffel

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BP Oil Company and A Greatly Appreciated Area 6 Champion

Special Olympics Virginia Area 6 has received a very generous donation from BP Oil Company for their program “Fueling Communities.” Each year BP selects a different charity in the local area to assist. This year Gary Poythress of GPM Investments LLC, which operates a chain of convenience stores in states in the Mid-Atlantic and New England, helped convince senior management at BP to make this years’ donation to SOVA Area 6.

Gary championed SOVA Area 6 for this BP donation to help thank all the volunteers and coaches of SOVA Area 6 for the many years of support working with Special Olympics Atheltes. Gary sends a real special thank you to Richard and Karin Koch for their tireless efforts and endless years of voluntary efforts in every sport that SOVA Area 6 offers its Athletes.

SOVA Area 6 participated in the giant check presentation. The amount of the check donated to Area 6 is $20,000. These funds will help provide the resources needed to continue offering many of the sports Area 6 currently offers to the intellectually disabled in Chesterfield, Goochland, New Kent and Powhatan.

Michael Marretti (center), SOVA Area 6 Board Chairperson, accepts the BP donation from Gary Poythress, Director of Fuels (left) and Bill Reilly, VP of Marketing (right) of GPM Investments LLC.

The 2014 Polar Plunge was a Great Success for our Plungers

We would like to thank all Plungers, Family and Friends for supporting SOVA Area 6 on Saturday, February 8 at the Virginia Beach Polar Plunge. Thank you for your efforts and generous support. If anyone has additional pictures they would like to be considered for posting, please send them to PublicRelations@area6sova.org. Enjoy our pictures below.

Get ready, next year’s Polar Plunge is Saturday, February 7, 2015!

Tony Shores and David WItt with Friends

Tony Shores, Carol Williams and David Witt

Plungers and their Family and FriendsAll the Plungers, Still Warm and Dry

Tony Shores, after the Plunge

Travis Hunter after the Plunge

Area 6 Roller Skaters at 2013 Fall Championships

Fall Roller Skating Champs

Carolina Chavez, Xavier Hayes and Immanuel Taylor receiving awards.

An excited and talented Special Olympics Area 6 rollerskating team of 24 athletes attended the 2013 SOVA Fall Championships held in Virginia Beach on the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd.  These skaters trained weekly as part of a total program of 90 students and adults practicing at two rinks during the school day weekly for 8 sessions.  Area 6 would like to thank Skateland, Chester and Skate-A-Way in Midlothian for supporting our athletes.  Skaters attending the Fall Championships participated in 3 events each in races ranging from 25 meters to 1,000 meters.  Each athlete earned at least one medal, with many heading home with three medals.  The entire group enjoyed the festivities and sporting events.

Area 6 Rollerskating Team

Area 6 rollerskating team with the local Knights of Columbus members who presided over the awards ceremony.

Area 6 rollerskating team with the local Knights of Columbus members who presided over the awards ceremony.

Area 6 Mustangs Represented Virginia at National Invitational Tournament

Heading for the Opening Ceremonies

Heading for the Opening Ceremonies

Heading for the Opening Ceremonies

Heading for the Opening Ceremonies

The Area 6 Mustangs Softball team traveled to Mercer County Park in New Jersey for the 2013 Special Olympics North America (SONA) Softball Invitational Tournament held August 23-25, 2013. Mercer County Park is located at  334 South Post Road in Princeton Junction. Our Athletes were invited to join in this Invitational Tournament and Special Olympics North America covered most of the travel related costs. The Athletes had a good trip up to New Jersey though heavy traffic caused them to be one of the last teams to arrive.

Joining our Mustangs were Special Olympics Softball teams from across the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Our team was made up wholly of Athletes as a traditional Special Olympics team in order to compete. They played six games over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition there were many meetings and reviews with organizers and coaches for feedback for next year’s “Special Olympics 2014 National Games”.

Our two sets of jerseys, home and away, worked well. Even with two sets we were thankful Mark Kitts and Michelle Myers took our uniforms out Friday night and laundered them having played 3 games in high heat on Friday.

The announcers were great, identifying the players and even giving them nicknames, providing some personal stories during the competitions. The announcer for the Mustangs’ first game followed them for the remainder of their games which the Athletes and fans enjoyed greatly.

 

The Mustangs won bronze medals for third place in their division. Our Athletes made their fellow Athletes, parents, relatives and friends proud as they represented our area in this nationwide tournament.

Area 6 Mustangs Going to the National Invitational Tournment

Area 6 Mustangs Going to the National Invitational Tournament in Princeton New Jersey

The members of our team are Anthony Bratten, Joseph Christian, Ja’von Chalkley, Chelsea Gaughran, Nicholas Glass, Deion Gilbert, Jonathon Koch, Paul Marretti, Wade May, Tony Shores, Shaun Smith, Robert Stowers and Gene Wooden. Our Athletes are coached by Richard Koch, Jeffry Gilbert, Michelle Myers and Mark Kitts.

Great Job Saturday SOVA Milers!! Hope to see you next year…

2013 SOVA Miler Group Photo

The SOVA Miler was held at Trinity School on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Our Athletes had been practicing every Monday for weeks at Bon Air Elementary School.  A fantastic group of students from Trinity School have been training our athletes.  The dedication of these individuals is truly heartwarming.  Many weeks we had twice as many helpers as we did athletes.  We want to thank everyone that made this event memorable!

2013 SOVA Start Line

The 2nd Annual Special Olympics Kustom Car Show to be held Sunday, August 4

Come join us for our 2nd Annual Kustom Car Show benefiting Special Olympics Area 6 on Sunday August 4 beginning at noon. The Car Show is orchestrated by Tim Taylor and the Lowlyfe Kustoms Car and Truck Club in partnership with The Brass Monkeys Bar on Route 1 in Chester.

Custom Vehichles from the 2012 Kustom Kar Show

We already have a great selection of custom cars, trucks and bikes registered for the event this year. Enter that vehicle you want to show off or come browse the spectacular, and sometimes unusual, vehicles our registrants bring.

Trophies will be awarded for Best Domestic car, Import car, Domestic mini, Import mini, Full size truck, Classic car, Rat rod, Lowrider bike, Under construction, and Van as well as our “Best of’s” Show, Paint, Highest, Lowest, and Largest club. There will be an Athletes’ Choice award and Bass Competition award sponsored By Sounds Labs.

You can enter the day of the show on August 4 and the entry fee is $20.00. Registration starts at 12pm and ends at 2pm. Judging will start at 2:30pm and trophies will be awarded between 5pm and 6pm. Root for your favorites, stay and listen to the music of No Limits and join our coloring contest or play in our pong or corn hole tournaments while you wait to see the trophy winners.

Lowlyfe Kustoms members and The Brass Monkeys Bar employees work hard to make this a great event! Returning this year is No Limits (the band!) and additional sponsors already include Superior Auto Works  O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, SoundLabs, Rollin Thunder, Republic National Distributing Company, Eagle One, and United Solar.

Don’t have a vehicle to enter in the competition? Come browse the vehicles and still become a winner! Many raffle prizes have already been donated such as two tickets to the NASCAR race at RIR in September, a Family Four Pack for the Flying Squirrels, a $300 Stereo system donated by Rollin’ Thunder, gift certificates from many local sponsors such as Sweet Frog, and Martin’s and Hood Props donated by Custom Hood Props.

Come meet some of our Area 6 Athletes and hear first-hand how SOVA Area 6 events have made their lives better. Our Athletes will also help award the trophies to various winners. Trophies have already been created and donated for our lucky and deserving winners. Special thanks to Phil VanEpps, Self Made Customs and Justin Spurlock for their hard work and dedication in creating our special trophies.

So come out and join us for great views (the vehicles!), great music and a great time! Remember the fun starts Sunday, August 4 beginning at noon.

State Summer Games: Rain Dampened Competitions but not Our Athletes’ Spirits.

Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA) State Summer Games were held again this year at the University of Richmond (UOR) and venues around town on Friday and Saturday June 7 and 8. Exceptional rain dampened the competitions but not our Athletes’ spirits. On Friday night the Summer Games began with the opening ceremony at Robin’s Center at UOR. Torch runners ran in the rain to bring the flame into the Robin’s Center. Area 6’s Jennai Kennedy was chosen to bring the flame into the center to light the torch that opens the Games. Several speakers welcomed Athletes, coaches and family. Area 6’s Jenna Trebour, who represented Special Olympics in the Hardees’s 2012 Fall Fundraiser, was introduced and Athletes were informed she would be in Olympic Town playing games and giving out hugs. You could tell Jenna loved her position representing our Athletes as she was all smiles. Athletes from Area 6 were recognizable as a group in their special red and yellow 2013 Summer Games T-Shirts.

State Games this year was a sad season culmination for some of our Athletes who trained hard this season and then had their competitions rained out for the first time in over 30 years. Cancelled events for our Athletes included much of Track and Field and all Softball competitions. But our Area 6 Bowlers and Swimmers were able to compete that weekend and they had a great time and brought home many medals.

On Friday night 160 Special Olympians from around the state gathered at Bowl America Short Pump for the Adult Bowling Competition. Area 6 Special Olympics, which consists of Amelia, Chesterfield, Goochland, Powhatan and New Kent, had 15 bowlers in the competition. Stuart Adams, Ben Cunningham, Mary Davis, Vance Davis, Susan Evans, Tim Goff, Debra Hubley, Roxanna Ronquille, Tony Shores, James Smith, Diana Tate, Eric Vernon, Ryan Wiggs, Oscar Turner and Cathy Pitts took part. Athletes bowled three games each and had a wonderful time while competing. Area 6 Athletes garnered 6 gold medals, 3 silver medals, 3 bronze medals and one each in 4th, 5th and 6th place. Congratulations to all the Area 6 Special Olympics Athletes! And thank you to SOVA and all volunteers and sponsors that make these events possible.

Recognizing Mark Kitts, A Bus Driver Who Goes the ‘Extra Mile’

On May 3, 2013 at the SOVA Area 6 Summer Games, Chesterfield Schools’ bus driver Mark Kitts was recognized as the recipient of the Area 6 “Path to Independence” Award. Mark came to our Special Olympics program through his job as a Chesterfield County bus driver and has been an important presence at the Fall State Games in Virginia Beach as well as the Bedford Moose Softball Tournament and the State Basketball Championships.

From his first “field trip,” it was evident that Mark was not going to be content to just drive the bus. He has a take charge attitude and is always pitching in wherever he is needed, even if it involves cleaning bathrooms. If he sees something that requires attention, he does not hesitate or wait to be asked before he lends assistance. His interaction with our athletes, coaches and other volunteers has been positive and heart warming. His caring ways are a true benefit to our organization.

Mark raised money for Special Olympics Area 6 this year by participating in the Polar Plunge. He also took it upon himself to organize an Area 6 bus down to the beach for the event. Athletes, parents, family, and volunteers enjoyed the ride as Mark drove the bus. This allowed many individuals to participate in the plunge or just go and cheer on all of those that braved the cold Atlantic.

This summer Mark will be driving our Area 6 softball team to the National Tournament in New Jersey. He will not only be the transportation for our group, but will also act as one of our chaperones. The contingent from Area 6 will be enhanced by his presence.