Traditional Stories

Lisa Menichino Kicks off the CCIW Women’s Tennis Championship with the Opening Serve


Saturday, October 19, marked an exciting day for long-time tennis player Lisa Menichino. Lisa kicked off the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Women’s Tennis Championship with an honorary serve.

She has been competing with Special Olympics Illinois since 1985. Lisa cherishes Special Olympics for many reasons, some of which provided Lisa the opportunity to play sports, including tennis.

Lisa was honored to take part in such an inclusive event. The experience was exhilarating as it was her first time at a tennis championship of this caliber.

“The CCIW was honored to have Special Olympics Illinois athlete Lisa Menichino on hand to kick off the final day of the 2019 CCIW Women’s Tennis Championship on October 19,” CCIW Assistant Executive Director Mike Krizman said.

At the event, Lisa said a few inspiring words to the crowd, wished the group good luck, and prepared for her honorary serve.

Lisa’s 20 years of tennis experience did not let her down as she served to Carroll University’s No. 1 singles player, Grace Krueger.

“She truly embodies all of the wonderful traits that being a Special Olympics athlete is all about, and we were honored to have her as our guest.”

Special Olympics Illinois and CCIW built a partnership in 2012. The connection was established through a bocce ball clinic between Special Olympics Illinois and the CCIW Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). The clinic is held annually in conjunction with CCIW’s end-of-the-year SAAC meeting.

“We’re proud of our partnership with Special Olympics Illinois,” Krizman continued. “The CCIW looks forward to growing that partnership through additional collaboration and participation in the future.”

View Lisa’s Honorary Serve here!

Outdoor Sports Festival


Softball at Outdoor Sports Festival has been cancelled due to rain and unplayable field conditions. Golf is currently still running.

WHEN: September 7, 2019-September 8 2019
WHERE: Rotary Park & Hickory Point Golf Course Decatur, IL, USA
CONTACT: Nate Henry 309-888-2574 EMAIL


What is Outdoor Sports Festival?

Outdoor Sports Festival is one of 9 state sports competitions. It is the final competition for those participating in Softball and Golf. Young Athletes will have the opportunity to participate in both softball skills and golf skills. Over 600 athletes compete over this weekend and bring the joy of sport to Decatur.


SITE: Rotary Park & Hickory Point Golf Course, Decatur, IL

  • Softball –  Rotary Park
  • Golf – Hickory Point Golf Course
  • Young Athletes – Rotary Park / Hickory Point Golf Course

Volunteer Opportunities

Special Olympics Illinois needs your help as a volunteer for our Outdoor Sports Festival in Decatur. We are looking for volunteers to help at the Golf and Softball venues on Saturday and Sunday. If you are interested in volunteering click on one of the links below for the date and venue you want to register for and you can sign up online. If you want to register for more then one shift, then once you are logged into our system you can pick the next date and venue from the drop down menu.

Volunteer Saturday - Golf    Volunteer Saturday - Softball

Volunteer Sunday - Golf           Volunteer Sunday - Softball


Softball & Softball Skills

Softball teams come together from throughout the state for their final games at the Outdoor Sports Festival. All the teams have worked hard to get here, competing in numerous games throughout the year. In order to advance to the Outdoor Sports Festival teams must win gold at their District Competition. Come on out and cheer them on to victory!

Individual Skills competition will also be offered where individuals will demonstrate their skills in base running, throwing, fielding and hitting. They will be competing against others within divisions for the best scores.

Athletes may compete in Individual Skills competition or Team competition, not both.


Swing into the game with golf at the Outdoor Sports Festival. This represents the final tournament for our golfers as they show off their love of the game and demonstrate the skills they have developed. Athletes may compete in Individual Skills Competition, 3-Hole Competition, 6-Hole Competition or 9-Hole Competition. Athletes may choose 1 event. Athletes/Partners competing in Unified Golf may only compete in Unified Competition.

OSF Golf 1Competitors are expected to walk during the competition. Request for use of a power cart must be made to the Director of Sports and Competition at the time of the entry deadline. Requests will be handled on an individual basis and proof of medical need will be required from a doctor. Unapproved cart usage will result in disqualification.

Individual Skills athletes will be showing off their Golf skills in short & long putt, chip shot, pitch shot and iron & wood shot. They will be competing against others within divisions for the best scores.

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.


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


  • Saturday, 9am-4pm
  • Sunday, 9am-12pm

Golf Live Scoring Links

Young Athletes

Young Athletes aged 6 and 7 will be invited to participate and showcase their talent in Decatur!  Young Athletes will have the opportunity to participate in Softball Individual Skills and for the first time Golf Individual Skills.

Opening Ceremony

OSF OC 2The Opening Ceremony is always one of the highlights of any Special Olympics Games and the tradition holds steady at the Outdoor Sports Festival. The Opening Ceremony will be held in Central Park in downtown Decatur. There will be entertainment followed by the grand entrance of the Torch Run and lighting of the cauldron. After the Opening Ceremony, athletes and coaches will parade in a stately march  to the Decatur Civic Center where dinner will be served.

Teams will be able to drop off athletes at Central Park then park at the Civic Center. Drop off begins at 5:45pm and the Opening Ceremony will begin at 6:15pm.


Souvenir information coming soon!


Stop by the family registration area at either of the competition venues to receive you event packet and a raffle ticket for the FREE Raffle. Don’t forget to wear your credentials.  Hours are as follows:OSF Awards


  • 8:30am – 4:00pm      Saturday
  • 8:00am – 11:00am     Sunday


  • 8:30am – 2:00pm      Saturday


Victory Dance

Let’s dance! The dance will take place at the Decatur Civic Center after dinner on Saturday, September 7 from 8-9 pm. There will be a DJ to play music and plenty of room to dance or sit as needed. Souvenir items can also be purchased at the dance, so make sure to stop by and pick up your OSF memorabilia before it’s gone!


In case of inclement weather, schedule changes or cancellations check the website here for updates. You can also subscribe to our text alert system by texting “Outdoor” to 77453.


Supporting Documents

Flag Football Annoucement


Click here to email Justin Dunning for information on how to sign up.

Special Olympics Illinois is excited to announce that flag football will become an official sport beginning in 2018. Flag football has been an emerging sport for 3 years and in 2016, more than 800 athletes on 40 teams from 12 different Areas competed in 5 tournaments across the state. Ten new teams expect to compete in the 2017 flag football season.

Marty Hickman, COO for Special Olympics Illinois shared that, “We are excited to add another opportunity for our athletes to compete in this growing sport.  Flag football really stresses teamwork and being a good teammate.  And, we know being a good teammate helps all of us be more successful.” Hickman also thanked the NFL Foundation and the Special Olympics Illinois Foundation for their financial support to help expand participation in the sport and purchase tournament equipment to ensure quality event experiences for all involved. “Special Olympics Illinois is extremely grateful for the support and is excited to be able to share it with our agencies through start-up kits and uniform packages being offered to new teams.”

There is funding for 13 start-up kits available to new teams. This kit includes footballs, cones, down markers, end zone pylons and flag belts allowing teams to host their own competitions. Funding is also available for 10 new teams needing uniforms. Uniforms include shirts, shorts and mouthpieces. If you are a new team and are interested in receiving a start-up kit or uniform package then please contact Justin Dunning at Teams receiving equipment and/or uniforms must participate in flag football for the 2018-2020 seasons or must return the equipment/uniforms. August 1, 2017 is the start date for awarding start-up kits and uniforms.

Flag football will be a fall sport. Teams are required to compete and win a gold medal in 1 of 4 qualifying tournaments in order to advance to the State Flag Football Tournament. 2018 state tournament details are being finalized but it will be a 1 day event on a weekend in late October – mid-November.  Not all Areas offer flag football, but interested teams can still compete if they are able to travel to their assigned qualifying tournament site.

Hickman thanked members of the Sport Management Team for donating their time and talents to the development of the sport. Team members include Shane Bennett, Jerry Blum, Riley Bowlin, Patrick Comerford, Jody Goetting, Paul McIntire, Paul Melzer, Lynde Pavich and Justin Dunning. This group led efforts to build interest in the sport and to expand training and competitions across the state. Please contact Justin Dunning ( if you have questions about starting the a flag football team.