LAIE, Hawaii – Eight members of the BYU-Hawaii women's softball team volunteered Saturday at the Special Olympics Hawaii Summer Games in Honolulu.
Special Olympics Hawaii serves over 3,500 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. They offer training in basketball, bocce, bowling, powerlifting, soccer, softball, swimming and track and field. Golf and tennis are included as demonstration sports. The Summer Games is one of the largest annual competitions, with over 800 athletes from around the state participating in the events. Special Olympics Hawaii depends on the help of over 6,000 volunteers each year who coach, officiate, fundraise and more.
Makaela Williamson, Pitisi Tualau, Alexa Barrett, Corallee Alexander, Roxane Dennis, Sarah Captain and Rebecca Mawson all helped with the softball finals. The girls watched both the "A" and "B" division coed championship games before awarding silver and gold medals to the players.
"It was really cool to get out there on the field and congratulate [the players] one by one," Mawson said. "Getting to volunteer was a really great experience and we all agree we would love to go back and get involved more next year."
Athletes who participate in the Special Olympics have intellectual disabilities, meaning they have limitations in two or more adaptive skills, such as communication, self-care, social skills, fundamental academics and other areas. Special Olympics provides opportunities to develop skills in sports and fitness in addition to life, social, vocational and transitioning skills. Volunteers play an important role in the development of these skills in the participants.