For nine days, the world watched as courageous and inspiring athletes celebrated
ability at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
More than 6,500 competitors representing 165 countries put their talent
and passion on display, bringing tears to the eyes of supporters everywhere.
To facilitate what was hailed as the “biggest event to hit LA since
the 1984 Olympic Games,” an estimated 30,000 volunteers were enlisted
to assist with events, medical coverage, and logistics. Village Christian
School was proud to be represented among the volunteers as students, teachers,
staff, and family members jumped at the opportunity to give back.
“These athletes taught me a lot,” said Village Christian third-grade
teacher Lisa Adamson, who worked as a greeter and served meals to the
coaches and athletes. “What I'll remember most is the look of
pure joy on their faces and their determination to try and do their best
without complaining. I am a better person because of what they taught
me. It was an incredible week.”
Adamson was stationed at USC with VCS travel liaison Jill Bowker, who also
recalled working with the athletes and their delegations “giving
them high fives and hugs, talking to them about their accomplishments,
and sharing in their joy as they showed us their Olympic medals,” she said.
Adamson and Bowker were given the honor of carrying the Bhutan banner during
the closing ceremonies.
USC was just one of seven locations hosting events.
At UCLA, members of the VCS sports medicine team – seniors Dakota
Abbot and Daniel Delgado as well as head athletic trainer Diana Putignano
– provided medical coverage during 11-on-11 and 5-on-5 soccer games.
“I had a really great experience,” Abbott said. “Getting
to meet all the athletes and doctors was really incredible. It was really
cool to see all the athletes come together and play. It was also really
cool to meet all the athletes from so many different countries.”
Elsewhere, seniors Dana Camphouse and Colleen Floyd helped with equestrian
events at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, while parents
Karen Ross and Erin Camphouse served as caddies for golfers from Russia
and Costa Rica, respectively.
[Click here for more photos from the 2015 World Games.]
“The mornings were early and the hours daunting, but the memories
were unforgettable,” Floyd said. “We were surrounded by love
and joy and the international language of smiles. Seeing the bond between
man and horse is something so beautiful, there aren't words to describe
it. It was like every being there knew they were participating in something
bigger than themselves. I will never forget the brave volunteers and the
courageous athletes who forever changed my life.”
VillageChristiancheer also got involved as part of the “fans in the stands”
program during the gymnastics competition at UCLA. After some time cheering
on the competitors, the team was invited down to the floor to create a
tunnel for the athletes to walk through.
“It was a blessing to be a part of the 2015 Special Olympics and
give back to an amazing event,” said VCS head cheer coach Lexi Martindale.
“The athletes shined, and we were blessed to be able to support
them as they competed.”
The same was true for others who attended the opening and closing ceremonies
as well as other individual events.
While the 2015 Special Olympics World Games was a blessing to its competitors,
it was also a blessing to everyone else involved – including the
volunteers and fans representing Village Christian School.