The Scorpion athletes are back to in-person team activities and are once again playing against other teams. This fall, the Scorpions soccer program kicked off a return to in-person practice and competition after nearly 18 months of hiatus due to COVID. Program coordinator Jon Philby reports that 25 athletes ages 9 to 65 participated! The varsity team was coached by Mike Suwak and Jackie Fernaays, while Dominique Rockwell and Maggie Reopell led the skills development team. Most of the players are individuals who live in the community, and some are Springbrook Community Homes’ residents or students who live on our School’s campus. According to Philby “[the soccer program] returned some normalcy to their lives. The athletes got a chance to see old friends face to face for the first time in 18 months, as well as make new friends. The coaches and I had the pleasure of seeing the joy on the athletes’ faces being around each other and doing something they enjoy.”

The Scorpions’ basketball and track & field seasons will start up in February. Many of the soccer team members will choose to participate in one or both of these sports, and other athletes will join in. Track & Field is the newest sport option at Springbrook and has been kept strong for 4 years thanks to the generous donations that have supported the purchase of uniforms and equipment. In addition to providing new sport options at Springbrook, donor support has also sponsored travel, which the Special Olympic athletes are eager to resume. With new safety guidelines in place from Special Olympics NY and coaches and team members alike observing mask-wearing, they hope that practice may once again lead them to a Special Olympics USA Games, as it did for the soccer team in 2018!

Going forward, the Special Olympics programs, coaches, and athletes are keen to have the continued support of the many individual donors, families, businesses, and foundations, that have made generous contributions in the past. Springbrook’s Special Olympics programs are funded entirely by donor contributions and sponsorships, so you can be certain that your support is appreciated. Expenses include coach stipends, uniforms, equipment, and team travel. To make the program accessible to all, the athletes do not pay to participate and Springbrook receives no revenue from these activities. We invite you to get behind the Scorpions teams and help these athletes to resume play in the coming year!  Please visit our giving page or text SPRINGBROOK to 243-725, and Thank You!

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