MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Children, parents and staff members with the Exceptional Family Member Program met at Butler Stadium aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on Aug. 3, 2013, to practice for the upcoming Special Olympics Track and Field Meet.
“It is a wonderful event for the kids because it helps them build self-esteem and confidence while showing them what it feels like to be in a competitive environment,” said Christa Bastian, training and education outreach specialist, EFMP.
The practices started on July 14, and will continue every Saturday until Sept. 7, when the meet will be hosted at the stadium.
“This is the first time that the Special Olympics have taken place on Marine Corps Base Quantico,” said Monique O’Neal, program manager, EFMP.” The best part about this event is that no experience is needed to participate and everyone that participates in the event will receive a dog tag medal regardless if the child wins or loses.”
We want people to sign up for the event, some people think that it is too late, but it is never too late, said O’Neal.
During this event, depending on how many people show up, we will break the children into buddy pairs, said O’Neal.
The event that includes a 25 to 50 meter run, triple ring jump, obstacle run, long jump, shuttle run and bean bag throws.
The children will be able to practice in the entire event before the actual competition in order to get build familiarity, said O’Neal. So when it comes time to actually compete they will not be in shock, O’Neal said.
“I brought my son out to the event because I thought it would give him a chance to have some fun,” said Steven McGettrick, father. “He loves sports, so this was the perfect place to take him and let him enjoy himself.”
For McGettrick, the competition isn’t the goal, his son’s happiness is.
“I will continue to bring him to these practices as long as he has fun,” McGettrick said.
This is a new experience for him and we are trying it out to see if he enjoys it or not, he said
“I don’t know who had more fun, the kids or the parents watching the kids have fun,” said O’Neal. “You can really feel the energy that the kids are giving off.”