Tribute to Champions

By Dave Breen, President & CEO

Tribute to Champions is the name of the kickoff event to our Summer Games and I think it’s appropriately named. But, it goes above and beyond our champion athletes. The event will be a time to recognize our volunteers, coaches, organizations, community and especially the families.

This year, we focusing on a Family Engagement Initiative and are asking for involvement at all levels of the organization – from volunteering and coaching, to giving time and resources, to identifying  those who want to help guide the organization through the Family Action Network.

This will be my 25th Summer Games and people have asked me the changes that I have seen during that time. There have been many changes, including the number of athletes who are served, which has gone up by more than 44 percent including our Young Athletes Program and participation numbers, to the many skills of our athletes, to using technology to accomplish greater and more efficiencies for the organization.

The one thing that has not changed is the impact that the athletes have on everyone’s lives around them. The sheer joy, courage and love for life will never change and that allows the individuals who participate to advocate through sport and improve themselves and the world around them like no other human beings I have ever met.

Come experience the opportunity to be around true champions who understand sportsmanship, believe in hard work and don’t ask ‘Why me?”, but “Why not?” The Tribute to Champions will kick off at Summer Games on June 13-15 in Bloomington-Normal and continue at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games June 14-21 in New Jersey. It really is a contagious condition that continues year-round in 19 sports and serves more than 40,000 individuals. Will you catch it?