In the days leading up to the Special Olympics World Games this summer, four delegations of international athletes will arrive and spend time in Santa Clarita. It’s a tall order – preparing for 150 individuals from other countries, housing and feeding them and providing amusement for them and their coaches.
But, don’t worry – if anyone can tackle the job, Canyon Country resident Jackie Hartmann can. She is the Special Olympics Host Town Chairperson for
Keri Hartmann helped her mother, Jackie, purchase 60 sets of sheets for the visiting Special Olympics athletes.
“There is a volunteer group of 15 that have worked together for the past six months to plan the activities, meals, sports training, transportation and accommodations for the 150 athletes that will be in Santa Clarita,” said Hartmann. “They will be staying at The Master’s College, who has been very welcoming and supportive. The committee has had to secure 150 sets of sheets, blankets, pillows and towels. Some have been bought while on sale, some donated, and some secured at estate sales. Right now my home is being taken over by linen!”
Santa Clarita will serve as a Host Town for individuals competing in the Games, held July 25-August 2, 2015, from El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Malaysia and the Philippines. More than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to communities throughout Southern California. Those four delegations will spend July 21-24 in and around Santa Clarita as they become acclimated to the time zone and explore Santa Clarita.
“Each of the Host Towns were able to request the countries that they might like to host. I did some research and found that the City of Santa Clarita has two ‘sister’ cities, one in Equador and one in the Philippines. So, I requested those two countries,” said Hartmann. “We will be hosting the Philippines along with three other delegations, the Faroe Islands which has a population of 50,000 and is located between Norway and Iceland, Malaysia and El Salvador. We are so excited to learn about the culture of each of our delegations.”
The Host Town program in the SCV is a collaboration between the City of Santa Clarita, local sponsors and the local Host Town organizing committee of volunteers. Events are being planned for the athletes through raised sponsorship dollars. The activities include a dance party with local Santa Clarita Special Olympics athletes hosted by Real Life Church; a picnic at Six Flags Magic Mountain; prepping for their individual sports with personal trainers at Afterburn Fitness and The Master’s College; and participating in a parade inside Westfield Valencia Town Center. With support from The Master’s College, Lockheed AERO Club, American Trust Escrow, Real Life Church, Poole and Shaffery, LLP, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Afterburn Fitness, CAM Foundation and numerous individual donors, the Santa Clarita delegates will participate in a variety of special events planned just for them.
“There will be approximately 20 Master’s students who have volunteered to be with our athletes for the four days they are here, and then they will be volunteering at the World Games,” said Hartmann. “They are going to prepare the dorm rooms, handle daily cleaning, and assist the athletes with whatever they need. It will be a cultural diversity experience for the students.”
To learn more about how to get involved with the Santa Clarita Host Town, visit LA2015.org/host-town/santa-clarita.
“The Host Town program gives each community an opportunity to showcase to the world what makes them special, but more importantly to provide citizens with a better understanding of intellectual disabilities that will lead to acceptance and inclusion for all,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of LA2015. “Long after the World Games are over, the memories of those three days spent in the Host Towns will leave a lasting legacy for Special Olympics Southern California and everyone who was touched by our athletes. We are thankful to all participating Host Towns and their tireless volunteers for opening their doors – and their hearts – to our athletes and coaches.”
The Host Town program has been an important element of Special Olympics World Games since 1995. The experience has left a lasting impression on the local communities in Ireland, Japan, China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have previously organized Host Town programs as part of the Special Olympics World Games.
About the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The event will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social media with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.