September 16, 2016  

Like us on Facebook       Follow us on Twitter       View our videos on YouTube    View our photos on flickr  Donate Button            

"It's what we do"
New Hampshire Special Olympics 1st State Games.  
June 1970. Jean Tufts, center. 

Jim and Anne Tufts were in high school when their mother, Jean Tufts, organized the first State Games for what would become Special Olympics New Hampshire in June, 1970.  Jean told her children "you're going to help with this event," so they did. More than 45 years later, Jim, Anne and the entire Tufts family are still going strong! 
Anne, an occupational therapist, has been the coordinator of the Newmarket Stars Local Program for more than 20 years. Anne also leads a figure skating class for some of the students in the area. While competition for figure skating is no longer offered in New Hampshire, Anne has been coaching one athlete, Mary Helen Willant, for about 15 years. Each year they travel to Connecticut where Mary Helen competes in the Special Olympics Connecticut Winter Games.  Anne most enjoys seeing the joy on the face of an athlete or parent during and after competition.  She believes that when athletes have the opportunity  to travel and be with their friends, they are the most happy and comfortable.  Anne appreciates that Special Olympics offers those experiences for athletes across NH.  
Jim is the head coach of the Exeter High School varsity soccer and ice hockey teams. He has been coaching for over 40 years!  He is also the coordinator of the Exeter Area Athletes Local Program.  Jim's son, Matt, is a Special Olympics athlete who competes in athletics, soccer, basketball and bowling, and was given the chance to carry the torch into the Opening Ceremony for the State Summer Games in 1996.  Jim and Matt have had the opportunity to coach/compete for Team NH at the USA Games and for Special Olympics USA at the World Games.
Matt, Anne & Jim Tufts

One of the things Jim is most proud of is the amount of involvement of the students at Exeter High School. There are typically more than 100 students each spring who act as peer coaches for the Exeter Local Program.  During practices, the peer coaches work with athletes on specific skills and training routines. During competitions, those same peer coaches are there to support the athletes and cheer on the team. The students are getting as much out of the experience as the athletes. For many of the peer coaches, their time on the team has a profound effect, even leading to career choices that involve working with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The total number of athletes and students who have been coached or inspired by Jim and Anne Tufts is unknown, but it is clear that their enthusiasm and caring spirit have influenced many, many lives. As Anne said, "Service, it's what we do." 

Thank you Anne and Jim for your years of dedication to Special Olympics New Hampshire! 
  • State Soccer Tournament: Saturday, October 22nd
    • Intent Closes: Thursday, September 22nd 
    • Registration Closes: Thursday, October 6th
  • State Bowling Tournament: Saturday, October 29th
    • Intent Closes: Thursday, September 22nd 
    • Registration Closes: Thursday, October 6th 
    • Scratch Closes: Thursday, October 13th
  • State Field Hockey Tournament: Saturday, November 19th
    • Intent Closes: Thursday, October 13th
    • Registration Closes: Thursday, October 27th
    • Scratch Closes: Thursday, November 3rd
Rail Trail Rally

Looking for a great way to kick off the fall season?  Join us for a walk, run or bike ride along the Northern Rail Trail just as the leaves are changing! We invite you to sign up to participate in the 3rd Annual Rail Trail Rally at Proctor Academy in Andover, NH.  

The Rail Trail Rally is an all-inclusive event featuring a  1.5 mile run/walk, a 5K run, 20 mile bike ride an 4.5 mile family fun ride. There will also be a fun family festival in a gorgeous New England setting, including food, entertainment and more when you cross the finish line!  

People of all ages and abilities are welcome to sign up. Whether you are an avid runner or cyclist or a novice beginner, we have an option for you! 
WHEN: Saturday, October 1st, 2016
  • 8:00am: Check-in
  • 9:15am: 20 Mile Bike begins
  • 10:00am: All other events begin

Check out some highlights from previous year events here! 2014 and 2015


Fueling Dreams Day
August 27th marked the 17th Annual Fueling Dreams Day where members of law enforcement and Special Olympics athletes could be found at over 60 Circle K and Irving dealer locations across the Granite State, pumping gas, washing windows, collecting donations and spreading happiness with a smile.  

Thank you to all who participated, including  New Hampshire Law Enforcement personnel, Local Programs and the thousands of customers who donated!  Check out more photos of the event on our Flickr page here
Fueling Dreams Day is a component of the Fueling Dreams Promotion where Circle K and Irving Dealer locations throughout the state raise funds for Special Olympics by collecting spare change and selling window clings for $1. Over the years, the promotion has raised more than $1.8 million for Special Olympics New Hampshire!
We are so thankful to have such fantastic partners. Thank you Circle K and Irving! 

Foundation Golf Tournament
The annual Foundation Golf Tournament was held on August 22nd at the Country Club of New Hampshire where friends of SONH and the Police, Fire and EMS Foundation Foundation played in a four person scramble tournament that was followed by great food, raffles and fun.  Special thanks to those that participated in the event: our partner organization, PFEMS Foundation, Coca-Cola Bottling Group of Northern New England, TD Bank  and Doug Moorhead/Woodstock Station who provided all the Tournament food. 

The Dream Ride
The weekend of Aug 25-Aug 27th was the 15th Dream Ride Experience in Farmington, CT.  This  fun-filled weekend long event is a great time every year as it includes activities such as: a motorcycle ride and rally, the Dream Cruise and Dream Show, a pet adoption center, live entertainment, a unified basketball game with celebrity NBA players and great food. It is truly a ride, and a weekend, to remember that keeps riders coming back year after year! 

Special Olympics New Hampshire athlete, Charlie Helfrich, who attended the event, says that his "favorite part was the car show and getting to ride in a Maine State Police cruiser!"  

Thank you to Heritage Harley in Concord for your continued support and dedication towards Special Olympics and the Dream Ride.   Thank you to the riders from New Hampshire that attended the event!  This year's Dream Ride raised an amazing $1.5 million to benefit Special Olympics programs across the country. 
NHIAA Unified Sports to begin at Newfound Regional High School
This is the first year for a Unified Sports Program at Newfound Regional High School, and Athletic Director Pete Cofran is very excited about the possibilities. They currently have about 20 students playing Unified Soccer, and are hoping to expand to include track and field later this year, and perhaps even basketball and/or volleyball in the near future! 
The coin toss at a Unified Soccer game between Gilford High School (blue) and Newfound Regional High School.
Cofran sees the program as positive for both students and athletes. Having an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere is what every high school strives for. And Unified Sports can be an agent of change in a high school. It can be an amazing confidence builder when walking down a hallway, a student with ID is recognized by their peers in a positive way for their performance at a practice or sporting event. Sports are a great way to influence attitudes and behavior, both in the classroom and all around the school.

Unified Sports have been in New Hampshire for more than 25 years, but it wasn't until the NHIAA and SONH partnered together to bring varsity level Unified Sports to NH high schools that we have seen a significant increase in Unified Sports participation. At Newfound, they have the support of the school board, an enthusiast school principal, and an engaged student body. In fact, Cofran says that "when students are leading the charge, more people will follow." That's just what happened at Newfound. 

One of those students is Alec Dostie, a senior. He was one of the first students to sign up to assist with the program, and is doing his senior project on Unified Sports. When asked what inspired Dostie to get involved with Unified Sports, he said Zeke. Zeke is a freshman at Newfound and has ID, but to Dostie, Zeke is simply his friend.
Alec and his friends worked to sign up fellow students at the Spring Fling at the end of last year and continued in the beginning weeks of this school year. The goal of the Newfound Unified Soccer team is to build a better community at their school. Over the course of their fall season, which includes 4-5 games, Alec and his teammates plan to motivate the whole school to get moving!

Good luck Newfound!  If you would like to get your school involved, please contact Zack Medlock at (603) 624-1250 ext. 39 or
Coaches, are you interested in increasing your sports knowledge, learning some new drills and practice ideas, and sharing best practices with other SONH bowling coaches? Come join us! Food will be provided!  There is a $10 assessment for the training.
  • Tuesday September 27th
    • Ten Pin Bowling Coaches Training
    • 6-8pm at Spare Time (216 Maple St. Manchester, NH) 
    • Clinician: Shari Marston from the Manchester Local Program 



Special Olympics New Hampshire is grateful for the annual support of our Mission Partners who help bring our programs to life.