Event Calendar Stories

Super Plunge Celebrates 15 Years of Jumping into Icy Waters


 
Mary Pocuis carry’s the Eternal Flame.

February 21st at 1:00 p.m. sharp, a group of 46 SUPER Plungers began the first of 24 icy dips into Lake Michigan over 24 hours, all to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

This year, the SUPER Plunge celebrates its 15th year of bringing individuals – from all walks of life – together for one common cause. Among the group was a first-time SUPER Plunger, Director of Illinois State Police, Brendan Kelly, and as well as longtime SUPER Plungers Mary Pocuis and Mike McDermott.

For most, this event may seem unbearable or impossible, but for Brendan, Mary, and Mike, it is just another way to give back to the athletes.

Mary Pocuis and Mike McDermott center.

“The men and women who serve in the Illinois State Police believe in the best of humanity and lifting people up, so supporting Special Olympics Illinois is a natural fit,” said Director Kelly.

Director Kelly and his team are looking forward to continuing to SUPER Plunge next year and for years to come. They hope to become as experienced as Mary and Mike, who have been plunging since the event’s inception, 15 years ago.

For Mary, the experience is a subtle reminder of why continuing to plunge is so important. “We do crazy things, for all the right reasons,” said Mary. “It’s about the athletes that we serve here in Illinois.”

Illinois State Police are our heroes no matter what uniform they wear!

Being a leg leader for DuPage County, Mary tries to gain as much continued support as possible from her fellow officers. She does not ask her fellow officers to support something she would not do herself.

As of the 2020 SUPER Plunge, Mary and Mike’s warm hearts have taken 360 plunges over 15 years – a record here in Illinois.

“I would have never stayed this long without the great people involved in the Torch Run that keep us motivated to jump in the freezing lake,” said Mike.

Illinois State Police take the Plunge

After 24 hours of plunging into ice-cold water, morale can be low, but not for this group. They pulled through until the end, raising over $131,000 with 46 total SUPER plungers. The SUPER Plunge could not have been a success without the help of many contributors, including Statewide-presenting sponsor, GEICO.

As a result of support from first-time plungers like Brendan and long-time plungers like Mike and Mary, the SUPER Plunge has had continued success. On the 24th plunge, Mary turned to Mike and said, “I’m coming back next year, and so are you!”


State Basketball Championships


 

What is State Basketball?

State Basketball is one of 11 state sports competitions. It is the culminating competition for those participating in team and individual skills basketball. State Basketball is held at Horton Fieldhouse – ISU and the Shirk Center- IWU. Over 1,750 athletes will compete in this 3-day event and show off their winning form! The State Basketball Tournament is supported, in part, by a grant from the Shirk Family Foundation.

The 2020 State Basketball Tournament will be held from Friday March 13th through Sunday March 15th!

Volunteer

We are looking for volunteers to help out at this year’s State Basketball Competition. You can register online by selecting a day you are interested in working from below. Then you just need to sign in or create a profile if this is your first time volunteering for Special Olympics Illinois online.  If you are interested in bringing a group to volunteer please contact Nate Henry at 309-888-2551 or nhenry@soill.org.

Once you are logged in select shift(s) you want and click on “Complete Registration”. You will then be taken to a page where you can continue to register for more shifts. You do not have to go all the way back to the beginning of the process. Remain on this page and look for the event/day you would like to sign up for next. For more information you can view our Complete Step-by-Step Instructions.

Volunteer for State Basketball Today!

Competition

Competition is offered for teams and in individual skills.

Team Basketball

2014 State Basketball 2

The goal of Special Olympics Illinois is to create four team divisions whenever possible for all state tournament play.  In some cases, divisions of two or three teams must be designed in order to provide appropriate competition at state tournaments.  In such cases, special rules apply so that each team is given a fair and equal opportunity to achieve success.

In a four team bracket, each team plays two games. In a three team division all play is round robin style.  In these divisions, three games will be played with each team competing twice.  In a two team division all play is best two of three games.  Teams will be given adequate time to rest between games and should a division go to a third game, the final game will be highlighted for its championship status.

Individual Skills

Individual Skills Competition will be Saturday at Illinois State University’s Horton Field House. The Staging Area will be in the southeast corner of the Field House.  Individual Skills athletes will begin competing at 9:00am Saturday.  All traditional skills athletes will compete followed by the Young Athletes Skills competition.

Sports competition runs from Friday, March 13, to Sunday, March 15. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any and all parts of Special Olympics State Basketball. Entrance to the tournament is free of charge.

Tentative Competition Times

All times listed below are tentative and subject to change once event specific schedules are determined.  For a final schedule please check the Supporting Documents section close to competition day.

  • Friday, 10am – 5:30pm
  • Saturday, 8am – 5:00pm
  • Sunday, 8am – 3:00pm

Young Athletes

Young Athletes from around the state will enjoy participating in basketball skills, socializing and so much more during the State Basketball tournament.

Young Athletes have the opportunity to participate in basketball skills on Saturday, March 14 at Illinois State University’s Horton Field House. Participating in exhibition events is a great way to help Young Athletes transition to the traditional Special Olympics program! To take part in the transitional exhibitions Young Athletes must have a valid Medical Application. For more information, please email youngathletes@soill.org.

Family Program

The Family Leadership team has set up the following special events for families of athletes.

Registration, Information & Hospitality

Please encourage all family members to register at the Family Information/Registration Area at ISU Horton Field House and in the main lobby at IWU Shirk Center.  New families as well as our veteran families should stop by to let us know you are here and enter the raffle to win prizes.  Information on athlete’s teams and game schedules and community information will be available.

Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony will be in held in Horton Field House on Saturday, March 14 at 7:00pm.

Dances & Evening Entertainment

A dance and laser tag activity is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday nights.  Friday night entertainment will take place after dinner and run from 7:00pm-8:30pm. Saturday’s entertainment will begin shortly after the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony.  Activities on both evenings will take place in Horton Field House.

Souvenirs

Souvenirs will be sold at both ISU and IWU venues.  Hours are 11:00am – 5:00pm on Friday and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday.  Items range from $3 to $55 and will include clothing and other traditional souvenir items.  The vendor will sell Basketball State Tournament specific t-shirts and sweatshirts.  Cash and most major credit cards are accepted for souvenir sales.  CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED.  Souvenir items are offered by Minerva Promotions and a percentage of sales are given to Special Olympics Illinois.

You can save time and pre-order items and pick them up on-site.  Pre-order items can also be personalized.  On-site customization is offered at both venues.  Please click here: (State Basketball Interactive Souvenir Flier Interactive SO State Basketball 2020  or go to www:soillstatestore.com to view items and submit your pre-order.

Text Alerts & Event Status Updates

In case of inclement weather, schedule changes or cancellations check the website here for updates. Please sign up for the text alert.  This alert will send you any last minute changes in the State Basketball schedule. Please text “Basketball” to 844-393-0980 to receive State Basketball related text alerts.

Supporting Documents

Sponsors

 
Shirk Family Foundation
 

Special Olympics Illinois Lottery Ticket Available Feb. 2


 
Tickets available for purchase Feb. 2, 2020

For the entire month of February, purchase your $2 Illinois Lottery ticket for a chance to win up to $20,000! Tickets are available at your local retailers. 100% of the profits to benefit Special Olympics.

For more information and to find a retailer, please visit the Illinois Lottery website.


Chicago Baseball Night, Special Olympics fundraiser, in Autism Certified City of Mesa, AZ


 

Due to concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus, and from the guidance of Special Olympics International, Special Olympics Illinois and Special Olympics Arizona have made the difficult decision to cancel the Chicago Baseball Night event. The safety of our athletes, families, donors, and volunteers is always our top priority. We are looking forward to coming back together for this event next year!


Experience a Chicago style St. Patrick’s Day party after the Cubs Game! The event is a traditional Chi-rish party filled with your favorite sports celebrities comically entertaining the crowd!

What a great way to enhance your spring training trip, by going to Chicago Baseball Night for Special Olympics on March 14, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at The Sheraton in Wrigleyville West, Mesa, Arizona. Experience this Chicago-style St. Patrick’s Day party after the Cubs or White Sox game, hosted by comedian Marc Cordes.

Featuring: Chicago Cubs Manager David Ross, Chicago Cub Kyle Schwarber,  Joe Mantegna of Criminal Minds (the original Bleacher Bum), Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher, Chicago Cubs Mark Grace, Chicago Bulls Scotty Williams, Dennis Gardeck Arizona Cardinals, and many more.

All proceeds benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois and Special Olympics Arizona.

Chicago Baseball Night tickets start at $75 per person and include live entertainment, a Chicago-themed buffet, and two drink tickets. VIP Tickets are $500 per person and include a pre-event tailgate party with celebrity interaction, open bar, premium buffet, and entertainment.

Appropriately, this event will be held in Mesa, the first-ever Autism Certified City in the U.S. designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), the result of nearly a year-long quest to tailor travel experiences for individuals with autism and their families.


In total, almost 60 businesses and organizations in Mesa and the surrounding area completed autism certification training, and are now each deemed a Certified Autism Center by IBCCES. The effort was immediately embraced by other city factions including the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and numerous nonprofit organizations. More than 500 Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities employees and 1,200 plus Mesa Police Department public safety and law enforcement officers are fully committed to autism certification training. To date, nearly 4,000 community members have completed or committed to the autism certification.


For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.chicagobaseballnight.org.


2020 Winter Games


 

What is Winter Games?

Winter Games is one of 11 state sports competitions. It is the culminating competition for those participating in Alpine Skiing and Snowshoeing. Winter Games is hosted at Chestnut Mountain in Galena, IL. Over 450 athletes will compete in this 3-day event and show off their winning form!

Competition

Competition is offered in Alpine Skiing and Snowshoeing. Athletes cannot participate in more than one sport.

Sports competition runs from Tuesday, Feb. 4, to Thursday, Feb. 6. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any and all parts of Special Olympics Illinois Winter Games.

Volunteer Opportunities

Please click on the button below to register to volunteer for this event.

Volunteer for Winter Games Today!

Tentative Competition Times

All times listed below are tentative and subject to change once event specific schedules are determined. Times only reflect actual competition times and do not include time frames for coach meetings, weigh-in times, etc. For a final schedule please check the Supporting Documents section close to competition day.

Alpine Skiing

  • Tuesday, 1:30pm Assessments
  • Wednesday, 9am – 4pm
  • Thursday, 9am – 4pm

Snowshoeing

  • Tuesday, Noon-4pm
  • Wednesday, 9:00am – 4pm
  • Thursday, 9:00am – Noon

Family Activities

Families are an integral part of Special Olympics Illinois and of Winter Games. Parents and family members attending Winter Games should stop by the Family Registration area, located on the lower level of Chestnut Mountain Resort to pick up their family packet and goody bag.

WG-OpeningCeremonies

Families are invited to take part in the Opening Ceremony on Tuesday evening in downtown Galena.  At 5:30 p.m., the Parade of Athletes will walk through downtown Galena and end up at the Post Office for the official Ceremony ending at 6 p.m. Dress appropriately for the weather – it is all outdoors.

Family members attending Winter Games will also be invited to the Eagle Ridge Reception from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. Space is limited so pre-registration is required for attendance at this event. The dress is business casual. Light appetizers will be served and guests will enjoy presentations, socializing with other families, sponsors, volunteers, Board members and staff.

Family members are also invited to the Victory Dance at Chestnut Mountain or the Ramada from 7:30 – 9 p.m. Wednesday. The dance is typically a highlight for many of the athletes as they get to dance away the night!

Additional Family Information:

Opening Ceremony

WG-TorchRun

Opening Ceremony and the Parade of Athletes will be in downtown Galena beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Line-up will begin at 5:15 p.m. on Green Street near the historic Post Office building. Agencies will line up behind their Region flag. The parade will progress through the downtown area and back to the Post Office area where Opening Ceremony will be held. Finally, to top off the Ceremony, Law Enforcement Torch Run officers will hand off the torch to athletes who will carry it along its path and light the cauldron holding the Flame of Hope to kick off the Games! Please dress appropriately for the weather – it is all outdoors.

Dinner Downtown

WG-Dinner

After the Opening Ceremony, agencies will be escorted to local restaurants for dinner. Please check your agency’s registration packet for more detailed information.

Winter Games Reception

The Winter Games Reception will be at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Tuesday. The dress is business casual. Light appetizers will be served and guests will enjoy presentations, socializing with other families, sponsors, volunteers, Board members and staff.

Victory Dance

The Victory Dance will be from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Chestnut Mountain and Crossroads Community Church. The dance gives the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois a chance to celebrate their accomplishments and to socialize with others from around the state. Old friends will catch up and new friends will be made. The smiles and joy of the athletes are a testament to how Special Olympics Illinois helps transform lives.

Souvenirs

Souvenir hours are 10:00am – 4:00pm on Tuesday and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Wednesday.  Items range from $ 3 to $55 and will include clothing and other traditional souvenir items. The vendor will sell Winter Games specific t-shirts and sweatshirts.  Cash and most major credit cards will be accepted for souvenir sales.  CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED.  Souvenir items are offered by Minerva Promotions and a percentage of sales are given to Special Olympics Illinois.

You can save time and pre-order items and pick them up on-site.  If you want to personalize any items then you must pre-order them.  On-site customization is not offered at the tournament.  Please click here: (Winter Games Interactive Souvenir Flier Interactive SO Winter Games 2020 or go to www.soillstatestore.com to view items and submit your pre-order.

Text Alerts & Event Status Updates

In case of inclement weather, schedule changes or cancellations check the website here for updates.  Please sign up for the text alert. This alert will send you any last minute changes in the Winter Games Schedule. Please text “Winter” to 844-393-0980 to receive Winter Games related text alerts.

Lodging in Galena

View the Visit Galena site for information on lodging and activities in Galena.

Supporting Documents

Final Results: