2016 Winter Games Recap
If you missed out on the fun at Winter Games last month, check out the links below! 
More Than an Athlete - Bates Stays Involved On and Off the Court
Special Olympics Iowa has given its athletes countless opportunities and memories since its beginning in 1968 thanks to our dedicated volunteers, staffs, families and friends. Brian Bates, Iowa City Special Olympics athlete, is not only a dedicated athlete, he also serves as a volunteer when he is not competing.

Nearly 30 years ago, Brian was a student at Washington High School in Washington, Iowa, when he first heard about Special Olympics. This excited him and led him to join the Special Olympics swim team through his school.

Two years after his high school graduation, he moved to Iowa City. About a year after his move, he learned that a Special Olympics program was starting in the area. He really missed the competition from high school so he decided to join.
FIT Focus: March to Summer Games 
As a continuation of the FIT Program and the goal of helping Special Olympic athletes build healthy habits, March to Summer Games will begin March 1 and will include 250 participants. March to Summer Games is a walking club that allows Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners opportunities to build a habit of moving and becoming more active. It is a flexible program through Special Olympics Iowa that should be easy to maintain.

Each club will meet at least once per week (or more if desired) to walk. Miles will be added up and used in a competition format where Special Olympics athletes and teams with the highest average miles will receive awards at Summer Games. The FIT Program pre- and post-assessments will be done to record fitness improvement.  The 11-week program will begin March 1 and end May 15.  If you are interested in March to Summer Games contact Bruce Wilson or Stephanie Boylan.
Miss Teen of America Joins SOIA at Capitol Hill Day
Ambassadors from Special Olympics Iowa will be meeting with legislators in Washington, D.C. on Wed., Feb 10 for Capitol Hill Day. Athlete Corey Leonhard, CEO Gary Harms and Delegation Manager Jason Miller will be joined by Miss Teen of America Corrie Hayes to advocate for support of the life-changing work Special Olympics does in our state.

Since it was passed in 2004, the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act has provided the financial means to help  improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through its support for global sports and related programming, as well as social and recreational programs. 
Kliegl, Johnson Join SOIA State Office
The Special Olympics Iowa state office welcomes John Kliegl and Jeremiah Johnson to the SOIA family. Kliegl has been named the vice president of development and will start his new role on Feb. 15. Johnson has been named director of financial services after acting in an interim role for six months prior to officially joining the SOIA staff in January.
Spread the Word to End the Word on March 1
The Spread the Word to End the WordŽ Campaign is a grassroots effort to educate people around the world about hurtful language and advocate for them to stop using the "R-word" ("retard" and comparable words in different cultures). To date, more than 400,000 people have taken the online pledge while millions have signed petitions, banners and taken oaths around the world to stop hurtful language and banish prejudices.Take the pledge at www.r-word.org.

Athletes, volunteers and SOIA staff will be at the Iowa State Capitol Building from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. spreading the message to our legislators. If you would like to attend, please contact the state office at 515-986-5520.
Coach's Corner
Coaches Training Certification Clinics
To see a list of upcoming training clinics, visit our online calendar and click on the Coaches Training check box on the left. If you have questions or would like to register for a course, please contact Rhonda Schwarzkopf.

Upcoming Deadlines
Mid-Winter Tournament - Feb. 19
Entry forms for Mid-Winter Tournament  are now available on the SOIA website. In the Competitions drop list, click on Participation Forms to download the forms you need. 
PLEASE NOTE: Athlete physical forms are also due on Feb. 19.

Area Spring Games and Aquatics - Deadlines vary. 
Please visit your local area page for details. 

Coaches' Guide Now on SOIA Website
The new and improved Coaches' Guide can now be found on the SOIA website. In the Competitions drop list, click on Participation Forms, and the link is on the left in the orange Helpful Links section. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE GUIDE

Cheerleading Update
Please note that a change in the Cheerleading and Dance Competition Rules and Regulations Guide in regards to the number of members per team will not go into effect until 2017. 

Sending Forms to the State Office
As we move into a new year, the staff at Special Olympics Iowa would like to welcome our new families, coaches and delegation managers and thank everyone returning for your continued support. We would also like to remind you a few housekeeping items. 
Sign Up for a Fundraising Event!
Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) continues to make a lifelong impact on the lives of our athletes. But the impact extends even farther...changing the lives of those who empower our athletes. Here's your chance to make an impact!

Brrrrrrring on the cold! Whether you plunge solo or with coworkers, friends or family - for the ultimate bonding experience - we'll help you take "cool" up a degree or two. Click the above link to find a Plunge near you!

Dine to Donate at Granite City Feb. 17
Granite City will be donating a portion of its sales to Special Olympics Iowa on Feb. 17! Visit one of the three Granite City locations in Iowa - Cedar Rapids, Clive or Davenport - on Feb. 17, show your server our flyer and 20% of your total tab will be donated to Special Olympics Iowa! Can't stay for a meal? To go orders are included, too! GET THE FLYER
Calendar Highlights
For a full listing of events, visit our online calendar.

4 - Des Moines Play Day
6 - West Central Area Conference Basketball
6 - West Region Conference Basketball Tournament
6 - Southeast Area Basketball Skills
6 - Torch Run Dance and Auction
9 - Southwest Area Bocce
11 - Central Area Basketball Skills
11 - North Central Area Basketball Skills
13 - Northeast Area Basketball Skills
13 - Wartburg Unified Sports Day
17 - Dine to Donate at Granite City (statewide)
18 - Oskaloosa Play Day
27 - Des Moines Challenge Day
27 - East Area Aquatics
27 - Warren County Polar Plunge
27 - Grinnell Unified Sports Day

1 - Spread the Word to End the Word
6 - Northeast Area Spring Games/Aquatics
8 - NAIA Special Olympics Basketball Clinic
11-12 - Mid-Winter Tournament
12 - Southeast Area Aquatics
15 - North Area Aquatics
19 - Avoca Unified Sports Day
19 - Council Bluffs Polar Plunge