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Jeffrey Fritz: Special Olympics Messenger

Perham's Jeffrey Fritz displays medals and ribbons he has won as a Special Olympics athlete.

With six years of experience competing as an athlete in basketball, bocce ball, golf, and bowling, Jeffrey Fritz knows not only a lot about a variety of sports, but is also well-informed about the Special Olympics program he competes in.

Fritz, 22, was recently named a Global Messenger with the Special Olympics Minnesota Class of 2008. He received a certificate confirming that he completed the Athlete Leadership Programs Global Messenger Training.

This weekend-long training was held in the Twin Cities. Fritz received a scholarship to complete the Global Messenger Training, which helped to prepare him to be a guest speaker on behalf of the Special Olympics organization. "It's basically saying I'm considered a public speaker," Fritz said about his certificate.

"I learned how to write a speech, get up in front of a room, and give the speech," says Fritz of his training experience. Although he can give that same speech whenever he gives a local presentation, Fritz says he enjoys changing it up a bit to better fit his audience.

A recent speaking engagement was at the November 10 Perham City Council meeting. Fritz explained that Special Olympics is open to all allottees with intellectual disabilities, age 8 and older.

Eleven state medals, which were awarded to Fritz in various events, were displayed at the Perham council meeting. He also showed a ribbon he won at the National Special Olympics, held in Ames, Iowa.

"I speak at city council meetings, Lions Clubs, and schools," explains Fritz. In December he will be speaking at both St. Henry's Catholic Church School and St. Paul's Lutheran School in Perham.

Although his speaking engagements are mostly at local venues, Fritz says Special Olympics representatives do arrange for speakers at some of the state meets. Fritz is in charge of arranging his own speaking schedule on the local level.

"I talk about Special Olympics, how it changed my life, and what it means to me," he says. In order to be a Global Messenger speaker, participants are first required to start out as an athlete with the organization.

Amanda Wothe, another area Special Olympics athlete, is also a trained Global Messenger.

"Special Olympics is a very good organization to be involved with," Fritz concludes. In addition to his current array of competitive sports, he's hoping to get a swimming program going in Perham in the near future.

There are nearly 50 Special Olympics athletes in the Perham area, noted Fritz.

His goal: to compete in the worldwide Special Olympics, in 2011.


Special Olympics sports offered in Perham:

* Athletics: April- June

* Basketball: January- April

* Bocce: June- August

* Bowling: September- October

* Golf: June- August

* Rhythmic Gymnastics: February- June