World, National, State Games; Perham Special Olympics Going Strong at 5 Years

By Tammy Wolthe Special to EOT Illustrated Perham area Special Olympic's has come a long way in the past five years. Proof of that will be evident this fall when Ryan Schattschneider will represent the U.S.A., and the Perham Area Special Olympics...

By Tammy Wolthe

Special to EOT Illustrated

Perham area Special Olympic's has come a long way in the past five years. Proof of that will be evident this fall when Ryan Schattschneider will represent the U.S.A., and the Perham Area Special Olympics Team at the World Games in Shanghai, China this October in Bocce ball.

That's just the tip of the iceberg that demonstrates the success of the Perham Area team in the last five years.

Schattschneider isn't the only Perham area athlete to represent the team outside the Lakes Area. Current outstanding athletes like Jeff Fritz and Amanda Wothe represented the Perham Area team at the National games last July in Ames, Iowa. They worked very hard, came back successfully with gold and silver medals and stories to be very proud of.


It is hard to believe it was five years ago that in March of 2002 the Perham Area team was organized. It was in April of that year that the fundraising, recruiting of athletes and coaches and all the coach training began. It was then that they developed a team of 14 athletes and 18 coaches training in three sports.

In the first year Perham Special Olympics competed in three area competitions, with Athletics being its first in May.

By 2003, they were training athletes in six sports. In June of 2003, Amanda Wothe was the first state competing athlete for the team. She competed in Rhythmic Gymnastics and won four gold and one silver medal.

By the end of 2003, the team competed in six area competitions and three state meets. In 2004, they had advanced up to four state competitions and had sent an athlete to train as an ALP Global Messenger.

The ALP (Athlete Leadership Program) allows the athletes to choose how, and in what role they participate in Special Olympics. It also encourages athletes to take meaningful positions of influence and leadership throughout the organization to help determine policy and set direction. They also speak to civic groups, potential athletes, and any other requested engagements about Special Olympics.

Amanda Wothe is Perham Area's trained ALP Global Messenger. Also in 2004, Perham Area Special Olympics had the honor of hosting it's first ever area meet, the Area 4 Basketball competition, where four area teams came to compete.

When 2005 came around, the team worked with the city of Perham to build Bocce Courts, which really has been a wonderful experience for our athletes.

Some Perham Area Special Olympic athletes had the opportunity to be involved with the Torch Run when it came through Frazee and Perham for the 2005 State Games. One of the highlights in 2005 was the start of their Annual Special Olympic Golf Fundraiser. Former Minnesota Viking Matt Blair came to sign autographs, play some golf and help them raise money.


As you can see, the Perham Area team is growing by leaps and bounds, in fact they are now up to 56 athletes from the 14 athletes in 2002, and 37 volunteer coaches that being also up from 18 coaches in 2002 with the addition of four junior assistants now involved. All this could not be possible if it were not for the support of the civic groups and organizations, businesses, individuals, coaches, parents, caregivers and facilities of the local and surrounding communities.

Perham Area Special Olympic consists of athletes from Perham, Dent, Vergas, Frazee, Underwood, and Detroit Lakes. They now compete in six Area meets, two regional games, four state meets, Nationals and now a World game in Oct. 2007.

What does Special Olympics offer someone with an intellectual disability, you may ask? Well let us be the one to tell you. It provides them with year round sports training and competition. Special Olympics empowers children and adults with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit productive and respected members of their community.

Special Olympic athletes gain an increase in self-esteem and social skills by increasing physical fitness and sill levels which provide lifelong benefits at home, in the classroom, on the job, and in the community.

Now you may be asking how can I get involved and what is there available? There are coaching positions always available, whether you just want to help out when you can or be a full trained sports coach. Teams need Officials for the day of events, or day of the event volunteers. Maybe you would like to be part of the Area Management Team Volunteers, this means helping build the structure of the Area team. Maybe you are eligible or want to find out if you are eligible to be an Athlete. Either contact the Perham Area Team Manager, Corinne Schattschneider 218-758-3138 or go the Special Olympic website for more information

The Perham Special Olympic Team wants to expand the sports offered and increase competitions for their athletes. They need additional funds to rent facilities for practices, buy uniforms for new competitions, equipment and send coaches to training to expand the sports offered. Additional funds are needed to send more athletes to regional games this cost includes transportation, competitions fees, meals, and could include motel cost depending on the distance of travel.

Golf Tournament, July 20

On Friday, July 20, come help be part of making the Perham Area Special Olympics five years celebration and team building dreams come true by being part of their Golf Tournament and Dinner Fundraiser. It will be held at the Perham Lakeside with registration at 12 p.m., and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. with a dinner and prizes to follow.


The Perham Special Olympic Team was donated some great prizes by very generous sponsors, just one of many to mention is four, three-day WE Fest general admission tickets.

This is a four-person Scramble, with an entry fee of $85, which includes your green fee, golf cart, dinner and prizes. All the proceeds will go to the Perham Area Special Olympics. To Register call Perham Lakeside 346-6070.

When you see a Special Olympic Athlete compete it is an unbelievable sight. When you see them excited for their friend who just crossed the finished line before them, it to is a unbelievable sight.

Why, you may ask? Because in that world no one ever looses, there are only winners every time. It is a sight everyone should see and experience. It is in our surrounding community, take a moment, get involved, come see the joy, excitement and laughter, share the moment. Get involved one way or another.

"Let me win, but if I can not win, Let me be Brave in the attempt" the Special Olympic Oath

(Tammy Wolthe is the Public Relations Coordinator for Perham Area Special Olympics.)

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