Changes to Regional Map and Directors
We are delighted to announce that Dawn Criss is the new South/East Regional Director. Having been an area director for 7 years, Dawn brings a strong knowledge of Special Olympics and an understanding of how the different areas work to her new position.

As you will see on the map below, all areas have stayed the same, but regionally things have changed a bit. The North/West region now includes the Southwest, Northwest, North, North Central, West Central and Northeast areas, while the South/East region includes South Central, Central, Southeast, East Central and East areas.

North/West Regional Director: Bruce Wilson ( bwilson@soiowa.com )
South/East Regional Director: Dawn Criss ( dcriss@soiowa.com )
A Look Back on Greek Week 2019
The week kicked off with a brand new event, Unified Fest. There were 150 student volunteers and 50 Special Olympics athletes who teamed up to participate in numerous activities, such as basketball, soccer, bowling and arts and crafts. This was a great event that showcased inclusion and respect. Throughout the week, Special Olympics athletes got to attend Greek Week events and hang out with and cheer on their assigned teams.

This year marked the 23 rd year for the Ames Greek Polar Plunge® to be apart of the annual Greek Week at Iowa State University. The Polar Plunge was held outside in an above ground pool at a new location, Hansen Agricultural Learning Center. Over 1,500 students took the plunge and collectively raised over $230,000 for Special Olympics Iowa. This Polar Bear Plunge continues to be the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Iowa and every year we are blown away by the support and generosity of the Iowa State Greek Community.
Area Spring Games Are in the Books
It has been a busy April! We were able to hold 10 of the 11 Area Spring Games, which is much better than last year when 7 of the 11 games were canceled. The only Spring Games canceled this year was the North Area Spring Games, due to poor weather conditions.

There were 3,400 athletes who competed at their local area games. The competition was stiff and the sportsmanship was on full display throughout the state. We look forward to seeing many of the athletes at the Summer Games in Ames.

Summer Games are THIS Month
The Summer Games, Special Olympics Iowa's biggest event and celebration, are just 23 days away! We are expecting over 2,600 athletes, 100 Unified partners, 1,200 coaches and 2,000 volunteers for this three-day event. The festivities will kick off with the Torch Run Final Leg® bringing the Flame of Hope from downtown Des Moines to Hilton Coliseum for the Opening Ceremonies presented by Hy-Vee.

When athletes are not competing they are invited to relax at the Olympic Festival or take advantage of the Healthy Athletes® screenings. The Olympic Festival will feature opportunities to interact with sponsors and partners through games and activities. The screenings that will be available are: Opening Eyes, Special Smiles, Fun Fitness, Fit Feet and Health Promotions

Event Details
Date: May 23 - 25, 2019
Location: Iowa State University, Ames
Summer Games Volunteers Needed
We have a variety of volunteer needs available! There are morning and afternoon shifts on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24, and a morning shift on Saturday, May 25. The list of volunteer opportunities can be viewed by clicking on the link below.



All volunteers will receive a complimentary T-shirt; Thursday and Friday volunteers will also receive lunch.
First Iowa Unified Basketball Team Competes in NIRSA Tournament
The University of Iowa left their mark at the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Basketball Championships last month. This Unified team was among 12 teams selected from across the nation to compete in the Unified division at this annual tournament in Wichita, Kansas. The University of Iowa has a strong Unified Intramural program that continues to develop our Special Olympics athletes' skills, all while creating unique, lasting friendships with University students along the way.

The team first faced-off against the University of Louisville and won 39-37 on a buzzer beater shot. Following, they lost a very close game to Eastern Washington University, and in the final game lost to the University of Oregon. The team finished the tournament 1-2. They may not have taken home the title, but the team sure had a great experience. Weeks before, the Hawks held 6 weeks of practices, overlapping and following their regular Unified intramural season. The University of Iowa staff and partners are in great support of the Unified programs in the recreational department. Thank you and congratulations to the team and the University of Iowa staff on all the hard work they put into this season!
Eight 4x100 Meter Relay Teams Compete at the Drake Relays
Once again this year, the Drake Relays held an exhibition 4x100 Meter Relay Race for Special Olympics Iowa athletes. There were 8 Special Olympics Iowa teams including Des Moines East, Woodward Grandwood, Sioux City Knights Females, Cedar Rapids Park and Rec Females, Sioux City Knights Males, The Fast & The Furious (Link Associates), Dubuque Packers and Oelwein Huskies that competed in the race. The athletes were treated like the champions that they are throughout the entire event. The stands roared with applause as the athletes paraded in and again during the race. Upon finishing the race athletes were welcomed onto the stage at mid-field for a few photos.
Sponsor Spotlight: Well Fargo
Wells Fargo became a Premier Statewide Partner in 2014, and has been an outstanding supporter ever since. Even before becoming a Premier Statewide Partner, Wells Fargo provided hundreds of volunteers year in and year out for the annual Summer Games. Last year Wells Fargo provided over 300 volunteers that worked with the track and field competition and fulfilled other needs throughout the games. Wells Fargo employees also volunteer for the Iowa State University Football Fundraiser and many other events and competitions throughout the year.

The Wells Fargo Foundation, has granted thousands of dollars to Special Olympics Iowa over the years, in addition thousands of dollars are given to Special Olympics Iowa through payroll deductions and donations to events by local branches in Iowa.

“At Wells Fargo, we are honored to support Special Olympics. We are pleased to provide foundation grants and Wells Fargo volunteers. Thank you Special Olympics for your long history of supporting very special and very talented athletes.”
 - Don Pearson, Great Plains Region President
Fundraising Central
Plane Pull®

Create a team of your strongest friends and try your hand at pulling a Delta CRJ-900 12 feet! Teams of up to 10 will test their strength against a Delta CRJ-900 airplane weighing more than 80,000 pounds. Teams will compete to see who can pull the airplane 12 feet in the fastest time.

*   *   T eams will get to pull twice, their fastest time will be recorded. Both pulls will be consecutive.


Event Details:
Date:    Saturday, June 8, 2019
Location:  Des Moines International Airport ( Endeavor Air/South Cargo Ramp)
Time:   10:00 a.m.                    
Cost:    $500 per team ($50 per person for a team of 10)

Dallas County Sheriff's All-Wheel Show

Event Details:
Date: Saturday, June 1, 2019
Location:   Downtown Square (8th & Main) Adel
Cost:   Pre-register by May 25, 2019 (1st car is $20; every car after is $10)

For more information, contact Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard at (515) 202-5468.


The Torch Run Supporter T-Shirts
are Now on Sale!

Each year, law enforcement officers throughout the state sell supporter T-shirts to raise money for Special Olympics Iowa and show their support for the Torch Run. Buy your T-shirt today!


Swing with the Celebrities Golf Tournament
Presented by Brian Ferentz

This is a unique opportunity for individuals and organizations to raise money and support Special Olympics Iowa athletes by joining current and former University of Iowa athletes and staff for a day of golf.

Event Details
Date: June 28, 2019
Location:  Brown Deer Golf Course
Cost:   $150 per person
Karaoke Night at Jeannie's Bottle
Jeannie's Bottle

 Athletes are invited to Jeannie's Bottle for a karaoke night on Tuesday, May 14 from 4-7 p.m.

Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Location: 3839 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, Iowa
Coaches Corner
Coaches' Guide Available Online!
The 2018-2019 SOIA Coaches' Guide is now available on our website !

Trainings 
Becoming a coach and coaching re-certification is now easier than ever!
 
Check out our new "Become a Coach" page:
 
You can now become certified/re-certified ONLINE !
Contact Bruce Wilson ( bwilson@soiowa.org ) if you have any questions about coaching certification.

Registration Forms Available Online
Registration forms for Challenge Days and Young Athlete Play Days are now available online! Go to the Participation Forms page on our website to view registration forms for all SOIA events.

Share Your Story!
Do you know someone with a great story to share? We're always looking to share our athletes' stories in the newsletter. Please email Karen Whitman at kwhitman@soiowa.org with your story ideas.
Event Calendar

Visit our online calendar for event updates!

May
1 & 2- Crappie Tournament
2- Drake Unified Sports Day
23-25 State Summer Games

June
1- Dallas County Sheriff's All-Wheel Show
8 - Plane Pull
8 - Emmetsburg Challenge Day
15 - Lake City Challenge Day
28- Swing with the Celebrities Golf Tournament presented by Brian Ferentz

July
11- River Hills Summer Challenge Day
11- Southwest Regional Softball Skills Competition
13- East Central Conference Softball Tournament
13- West Central Conference Softball Tournament
13- West Conference Softball Tournament
20- Vinton Unified Golf Tournament
20- Dubuque Unified Golf Tournament
20- East Regional Softball Skills Competition