2001 SPECIAL OLYMPICS WORLD WINTER GAMES ALASKA
SPECIAL OLYMPICS TOWN
AFTER ACTION REPORT
April 11, 2001
Originally drafted by: STEVE JENSEN
SPECIAL OLYMPICS TOWN COORDINATOR
Edits by: Gloria M. Allen
At the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games Alaska, Special Olympics Town was the
“Fun Center” for the athletes. As a change from previous games, we included three groups of
activity in one facility:
1) Activities to educate and entertain (the “Fun Center”)
2) Healthy Athlete screening programs
3) Worldfest, our sponsors have a face in this community.
By all measures, we created a very successful Special Olympics Town. Athlete attendance was
high through a long 10-day schedule. The athletes had a great time participating in Activities,
the Healthy Athlete Screening program set participation records, and the sponsors were
satisfied with their results at this event.
These three attributes helped the success of the event:
1. The location of Special Olympics Town.
2. The facility we used to house Special Olympics Town.
3. The efforts of our planning committee to create a solid vision for Special
Olympics Town, to include activities that met athletes needs and desires.
And our team did a good job of executing the plan.
Athlete needs were the focus of planning for this event. All decisions for Special Olympics
Town (SOT) were made for the benefit of the athletes. At each crossroads, if the decision
would provide a benefit to the athletes, that was the best decision.
This report will review the planning and organizational phase of this event, and will
summarize the plans that met objectives along with suggestions for improved results.
During the early planning phase of this event, the Games Operating Committee (GOC) formed
a committee to develop a “vision” and a plan for Special Olympics Town (SOT). The objective
was to “create the best Special Olympics Town ever”. In these early planning stages, the
concept of combining the “Fun Center” Activities with Healthy Athletes, and Worldfest was
formalized. During the early planning our committee made the decision to use The William A.
Egan Civic and Convention Center in the heart of downtown Anchorage Alaska as the
location for SOT. These early planning meetings created the document presented in Appendix
1. This was the “vision” for SOT.
As the planning for this event moved forward, the details in this “vision” evolved and changed,
but this document was a guide to keep the concept moving in a consistent direction.
The focus of planning for this event centered on what was best for the athletes. As an
example, the question of “age appropriate” activities was a regular topic of conversation. The
result of asking and answering the question, with a bias for the athletes, is a list of activities
that kept the athletes coming back to SOT to enjoy the venue. The Activities at SOT
encouraged very enthusiastic participation by the athletes.
In the year before World Winter Games, the GOC hosted a “Pre Games” Event. The objective
of this event was to give all systems associated with the games a trial. This was a great
learning experience for the people involved to evaluate activities, and systems that would meet
our needs in this venue. The people associated with the pre games work provided their
experience as a guiding influence through the World Games. This experience was invaluable
in providing a quality event for the athletes.
Six months before the event, the staff person responsible for SOT was hired (a copy of this job
description is attached in Appendix 2). Prior to this time all planning activity was the
responsibility of either the Special Events Department Head (in addition to several large
projects) or the work of the volunteer committee. The volunteer committee created the
“vision” for SOT and the list of age appropriate activities, themes and plans for SOT. During
the six months leading up to Special Olympics Town, the specific organizational details were
created and decided for this event. The following discussion will review various aspects of this
event, the objectives and planning involved with this event, and analysis of what did work, and
what could have improved the results.
Implementing Special Olympics Town needs to meet these general objectives:
1) SOT needs a location
2) SOT needs to meet a time schedule, both planning and implementing
3) SOT needs appropriated activities installed
4) And SOT needs the appropriate people to do the work
Although simplistic, this list serves as a reminder of what is important in organizing this event.
This list will direct the nature of these comments about organizing this event.
The facility we used for Special Olympics Town at the 2001 World Games was ideal for the
project we designed. The location worked well for our athletes and guest to access the event.
It was convenient to ride a bus to this facility from the other venues, and SOT was walking
distance from many of the hotels and shopping opportunities for the athletes.
This facility was just the right size for our event and crowd. (See Appendix 3 for a copy of the
final floor plan of this facility and how we used the available space. Appendix 4 is a list of
“Fun Center” Activities we used at these games. Appendix 5 is a copy of the building
brochure as a reference for the Egan Convention Center and the amenities available in this
As a benchmark to compare space and athletes, we used approximately 40,000 square feet
(3,700 square meters) of building space for this event, and we had 1,750 registered athletes.
On “Athlete Only” days, the building was less crowded and we were better able to focus on
athletes. On the days we had the facility open to the “General Public” the building was full of
It is never too early to contract to use the space for Special Olympics Town. In our situation,
we used the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage. Our contract to use this space was
drafted and signed 18 months before the event. As we moved closer to the event we made
changes to this original contract. We asked for and received additional days to use the facility.
The original contract allowed for one day to move into the facility. We asked for and used a
total of three days to move into the facility. We used two full days moving out of the building.
We had many discussions regarding the appropriate hours to keep Special Olympics Town
open and available for people to use. The discussion started with deciding who our target
audience was (the athletes or the general public, to include families, honored guests and
members of the community, and volunteers). It was important to this committee to make the
activities of Special Olympics Town available to the athletes when the athletes were not
involved in athletic competition. It did not make sense to have SOT open for the athletes at the
same time we had the athletes scheduled for competition. (One of our busy days was the day
the Down Hill Ski venue was closed due to poor weather). The next step was to decide the
number of days and hours per day to keep the facility open.
See Appendix 6 for our final schedule. This includes details regarding how we used the two
performance stages at SOT for entertainment and special presentations.
We ended up with a long schedule at SOT. The facility was open for a total of 10 days. We
opened SOT four days before Opening Ceremonies. The reason was to provide a place for the
Athlete’s to go and be doing something besides sitting in hotel rooms in the days before
competition. This strategy worked for us. The first four days at SOT were busy with athletes.
We augmented the athlete use of the facility by inviting our Host Teams (Appendix 7 reviews
the Host Team Program) to SOT on days one and two of our schedule, and by opening the
doors to the general public on days three and four of our schedule. We also had the
advantage of The Iditarod Race start on day three of our schedule. The race start was close to
SOT, and this helped to bring a large crowd of people to SOT. Appendix 8 will describe the
Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
On days one and two we kept the doors to SOT open from 9 AM to 3 PM. These hours were
selected to encourage Host Team participation at SOT. Days three and four we were open
from 11 AM to 4 or 6 PM. These hours worked well with The Iditarod Race start, the weekend
time frame, and the Opening Ceremonies for the games.
On days five through ten of our schedule we kept the doors open from 2 PM to 9 PM. We
planned for the athletes to come into SOT after competition during the day and spend the
afternoon or evening at SOT.
We ended with a schedule that was open to the “athletes only” on three of the days we were
open. These were the quietest days at SOT and the best for the athletes. At future events we
would encourage a schedule with more days for the “athletes only”.
Five days of our schedule we were open to the general public in addition to the athletes. These
days were the busy days at SOT. On two days we invited the Host Teams into SOT. These
days were very busy at SOT reflecting the success of Host Team program at these games. We
did have a problem controlling who came into SOT on these days. If possible, include a
credentialing process for the invited guests. We apparently had a large number of
gatecrashers who occupied space, but didn’t add to the athlete experience at SOT. We limited
the number of classrooms that were invited to participate in our Host Team Days. There was
more interest in participating at SOT than we had space to safely accommodate.
SOT in Anchorage included two performance stages. In the weeks prior to the opening of
SOT we planned the use of these stages and created a schedule to indicate who was using
which stage at any given time. During the operation of SOT we met with several requests to
include performances at the last minute. I bring this up as a warning to plan for this
eventuality. If you have a stage, people will ask to use it at the last minute.
One last quality to mention about the schedule is a decision we made regarding the length of
each day. We decided to ask our volunteers to work at most an eight-hour day. To
accommodate this requirement, we kept SOT open to the athletes no more than seven hours so
that a volunteer could arrive a half hour early, and leave a half hour after closing and still
have an eight-hour commitment.
This topic includes all of the activities, events and booths that are set up in SOT. This area of
discussion is in three groups: “Fun Center” Activities, Healthy Athletes, and Worldfest. This
discussion will review each of these areas, and points of interest for each area of activity.
Activities to Educate and Entertain, the “Fun Center”:
During the pre-games, the Venue Committee tested and evaluated a collection of activities for
the athletes at SOT. As the organization of this project moved forward, this list changed and
evolved. Some of the activities went away, and some activities were added. An example of an
activity that was deleted would be the model train activity. We had planned to include a
display from the model train club. Upon closer review, we decided it was too much of a
commitment for the club to staff and maintain the display over our ten-day schedule. To
replace this activity, we researched and hired the Xtreme Racing Company to fill in the space
of model train group.
Each activity has it’s own story. Each activity required a separate negotiation with the group
providing the activity. Many of the activities required creating a group or committee to
manage the activity. An example of an activity group we formed is the in this application is
the group of people who worked on the climbing wall. We recruited an individual to manage
the people who were working on the climbing wall and we contracted with a company to build
the climbing wall.
Each activity has it’s own time line, and organizational requirements. These details can only
be planned as the list of activities is created. A working document we used early in the
planning cycle is the “Activity Description” document in Appendix 9. We used this document
to help communicate what was involved in creating each of the activities. Drafting this
document was a useful exercise to help decide what resources were required for each activity,
where the support for each activity might come from, and to help all parties associated with
this project get to a common understanding of what action would be involved with each
activity. This process helped decide which activities were possible, and which needed to come
off the list. This list was never updated from the draft created five months before the event.
Its usefulness was in the early planning stages for this event. As the individual idea’s
developed, a complete file was created to track the details associated with each project.
Regarding the list of activities included in this project, we had an interest is showcasing the
local character of our community. We based this list of activities on the history of our area, to
include the Gold Rush years and other times of. These decisions were driven in part by the
decorations and materials that were easily available from the local trade show support
company, Art Services North. We developed this decorative theme and only needed to build
one or two new decorative elements. The rest of the decorations were available from Art
Services North as rental items.
Art Services North is a local company that provides design consultation, manufacturing,
installation and support services for stage shows, parties and conventions. We hired Art
Services North (ASN) to provide these services for Special Olympics Town. The staff from
ASN provided the CAD drawings for SOT. ASN provided all of the decorative elements in the
Egan Center, including contracting for the balloon art sculptures to add color in the Summit
We set up two performance stages at SOT. The Earthquake Café, and the Borealis Stage. We
recruited one volunteer to schedule the performers on the Borealis Stage, two to three hours
per day, each day we were open. This same volunteer and one other person were on site when
the stage was occupied to support getting the performers in the building and up on the stage
ready to entertain. This system worked well because we had competent people in these
On the Earthquake Café stage we hosted Karaoke performers, and Special Presentations. The
Special Presentations included a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, The Torch Run Officers, and a
new program announcement from SOI and Sesame Street. We also hosted athlete dances at
this stage. All of these events were a good match for this stage, and the dance was very
As it worked out, several of the performers we scheduled into SOT were more appropriate for
the Earthquake Café Stage than the Borealis Stage. If it was possible to move the
performance to the larger stage, we did move the performance.
Although not stage performances, several groups have “costume characters” that were
available at SOT. Our local Convention and Visitors Bureau has a collection of animal
costumes that are available to use. On several occasions we recruited volunteers to get into
costume and parade through the show hall to interact with the athletes. At Special Olympics
Town, we also had the Safety Bear from the police department; Sparky from the Fire
Department; vegetable characters from the HPC Healthy Athlete group; Power Ranger from
the nutritionalists; the “M and M” candy character; Elmer from the Home Depot Company;
the Coke A Cola Bear; and Elmo from Sesame Street. These characters added to the festive
atmosphere of the event.
We hired a local sound engineering company (Crossroads Productions) to provide the
equipment and a professional operator to set up and control the microphones, speakers and
volumes, and lights on the stages. This was a good investment as the quality for these services
was high and improved the quality of the performances for the athletes.
Regarding the entertainment and educational activities in SOT, we made the decision to have
these activities available to “athletes only”. The intention was to give our guests (the athletes
for World Games) first priority on the activities. In practice, we did allow other to use
activities. On general public days, we had resources to support visiting school age people at
the Arts and Crafts station. If we did not have people in line for the Internet computers, or the
Climbing Wall we would allow others to use these activities. This policy created a few
problems with general public guests who had difficulty understanding why we did not create
this event just for their use.
The Healthy Athlete Screening program is a key component to a successful Special Olympics
Town. This group required a significant amount of organizational effort. The basic structure
for this project starts with a national professional group from each of the medical disciplines
represented at SOT. The national professional group works with a local person within their
organization to plan for SOT. In Anchorage, we had five Healthy Athlete Screening stations.
Before we added the other interested groups (such as SOI and the Lions Club), for the venue
coordinator, there are already ten individuals to communicate information to and through.
Many of these individuals have an assistant. So the ten people are really more like fifteen or
twenty individuals to negotiate, and communicate organizational plans. As a project, there is
a large volume of information to create and track. Be ready to invest time in managing the
details with Healthy Athletes.
There are two overriding objectives with this program. The first objective is to provide free
health screening and education for the athletes. In many cases, the screenings provide life-
altering improvements for the athletes. As an example, in Anchorage, we provided over 400
sets of prescription eyewear for athletes. New eyewear can only help the athletes with their
athletic performance, and their ability to enjoy and participate in all facets of life.
The second objective is even larger in scope and impact and that is to provide health
professionals the training to work with this population. The mentally retarded are consistently
underserved users of health care services around the globe, and this program helps the health
professionals gain the education necessary to meet the needs of the mentally retarded. After
this training experience, the educated health care professionals are able to provide better care
to the mentally retarded through a career of professional service. These people are also
trained to educate their peers in their home cities and countries. The impact of this program
can be dramatic and long term.
The first step in organizing the Healthy Athlete Screening Program is to negotiate how much
space to dedicate to the task, and where to include the space. In Anchorage we had the benefit
of a facility that could accommodate all five organizations within the same building. This was
a mutually beneficial arrangement. The “Fun Center” Activities, Worldfest, and the Healthy
Athletes worked well in the same building helping to promote each other’s programs and
We did not provide an appropriate amount of space for each screening station. Eyes and
Smiles could both have used more space than we provided. Physical Therapy had more space
than they needed. Hearing was just about right, and the Health Promotion Center can expand
to use any reasonable amount of space by adding or deleting individual education stations. As
a point of reference, we had 1,750 athletes to screen over a ten-day schedule. The square feet
of space provided for each of the screening areas is listed on the floor plan, Appendix 3. (1
square meter = 10.76 square feet) In organizing these activities, it is valuable to get clear
communications early in the planning cycle on how much space is allocated to each group,
and where it is located within Special Olympics Town plan.
Each of the Healthy Athlete Screening areas has different needs regarding the equipment
used in the activity. The professional organizations are responsible to provide the specialty
equipment, and the venue management will need to support these activities with the basic
trade show support products, like tables, chairs and electricity.
The Smiles team will need a collection of tables and chairs, along with electricity to make
mouth guards, and run a few computers. In Anchorage, we had two transportable dental
chairs. These required appropriate space and electricity. We also had a collection of sponsor
and descriptive banners and posters to hang in this area. See Appendix 10 for After Action
Notes from Smile participant.
Opening Eyes required a significant volume of specialized equipment. The Opening Eyes
group installed several optometric chairs to provide complete diagnostic services for the
athletes. This was in addition to several testing stations with specific tests for the athletes and
the equipment to manufacture custom lenses for prescription glasses. This is all in addition to
a collection of tables and chairs, and the ability to support a collection of sponsor banners.
Sponsorship from the Lions Club International will also require active participation from
venue management to organize the needs of this organization which can include hanging
banners and bringing in additional people to have visibility at the venue.
Fun Fitness, from the Physical Therapists, had very few requirements. They used four or five
tables, a dozen chairs, and brought in two specialty tables to use in their assessment work.
This group used a t-shirt as the reward for participating in this screening. There were enough
t-shirts that storage might have been an issue in a smaller space. We only used one computer
in this activity, so electricity was not a concern. See Appendix 28 for a very thoughtful after
action report from the local coordinator for this screening station.
Healthy Hearing used several tables and chairs, and had ten or twelve machines that needed
electricity. As a special requirement for this group, it is better for them to have a quiet corner
for the work involved. We were able to put this group behind moveable, but solid walls, to help
restrict the background noise levels. This was helpful for the work of testing hearing in
athletes to have a quiet space for this work. See Appendix 11 for After Action Notes from
The first Health Promotion Center was created specifically for this event. This activity has
tremendous potential for impacting athlete’s ability to improve athletic performance and
improve quality of life. In Anchorage we included the Nutritionalist with height and weight
recording, the dermatologists, and interactive displays from the Milk council, the Lung
Association, and the Heart Association. The information from any one of these displays could
save a life, or dramatically increase an athlete’s ability to perform. There are several
additional concepts that are being developed to include in this program as the concept grows
and develops. See Appendix 12 for After Action Notes from HPC participant.
With all of the Healthy Athlete Screening programs, there is a benefit from knowing how the
space will be used prior to the event. Experience for planning space is limited and there are
no real “standards” on how the athletes in the screening stations will flow from station to
station. There are concepts, and ideas, but due to the variety of potential spaces, there are no
established standards on how to configure each of the Healthy Athlete programs. Each
installation is new and requires being on site to determine just how to set the space. It would
be helpful to know one or two months before the event how the groups plan to use the space.
This information will assist in determining what materials each area will need to support their
work. The best tool to analyze the support necessary is CAD drawings, to design the space to
Another area that needs attention with the Healthy Athlete program is the “incentive”
program. At games in the past, all of the screening programs have shown up with the same
give-a-way items. There were problems when all of the programs were giving away t-shirts.
All of the program’s results are better if the gifts cover a rage of products and this requires
prior communication. Someone needs to make an effort to manage this detail. It will affect
the success of the program; a little pre planning can make a difference.
SOI has an arrangement with the CDC (US Government Center for Disease Control) to collect
several bits of information from the Healthy Athlete Screening program. At the Anchorage
games, the CDC provided computers, and programming to collect information from each of
the screening area. The volunteers at the various Healthy Athlete Screening areas assigned
staff to the data entry work necessary to support the computers. As a volunteer position, a
general volunteer can be assigned to this position, and leave a medical professional available
for the screening work. There were requests to network this information system to streamline
the data collection process.
The GOC in Anchorage provided a copy of an Excel spread sheet listing the athlete’s name,
date of birth, gender, country, state, and major sport to the data collection project. This
information came from the athlete registration files in the Games database, and was used as a
base file for the Healthy Athlete screening stations to use for collecting data.
One problem we had to address, as an “after thought” in the planning stages was the topic of
an “Athlete Release Form”. The function of this document is to release the GOC and SOI
from liability for the athletes that are included in the Healthy Athlete Screening Program. It
is best to include language in the standard release form the athletes sign to be involved in the
games that will release the parties from liability in the Healthy Athlete program. This
language was not included in the Games Release we used in Anchorage, so we had to collect a
release from the athletes as a separate process. This was an extra step. Appendix 13 will show
a copy of the release form we used at these games.
In Anchorage, the Smiles team recruited Phillips – Sonicare to donate an electric toothbrush
for each athlete. The system created to distribute these toothbrushes was the Passport
Program. We printed a document that looked like and was called the Passport (Appendix 14).
Four pages from the Passport were dedicated to the Healthy Athlete program to track athlete
participation at the Screening stations. As the athlete participated in the screening stations,
their Passport would be imprinted with a rubber stamp to indicate completing the screening.
With all five Healthy Athlete Screening stations stamped in the Passport, the athlete could stop
at the Phillips – Sonicare table and receive the toothbrush. The second use for the Passport
document was to encourage athletes to get into our community and visit local businesses and
collect other prizes or discounts on products. These business names are printed on other pages
in the Passport and provide for discounts or free merchandise for the athletes.
The concept for the Passport has a flaw, and our execution had two significant flaws. The
concept flaw is the athletes will commonly come to Special Olympics Town with out their
Passport. When the athlete does not have the Passport document at SOT, we loose the ability
to use this tool to track participation. Our execution flaws included not delivering the
Passports to the athletes until the second day of Special Olympics Town, so that on the first
day, none of the athletes had a Passport. And the American delegation had a distribution
bottleneck, and none of the USA athletes had a Passport until the sixth day of the ten-day
event. At that point, the Passport document was useless as a tracking tool for the athletes to
collect the grand prize of an electric toothbrush.
Instead of a document to track participation at the Healthy Athlete Screening program, in
future events, one option is to use a small sticker for the back of the athlete credential to
indicate participation. Although we did use a sticker to indicate participation in the various
screening programs this system is also flawed. The athletes would remove the sticker so they
could go through the screening program a second (or multiple) times. The objective for the
athlete was to collect the participation prize from the screening station (t-shirts from Fun
Fitness, etc.). For the Grand Prize, we recommend using a hole punch to permanently deface
the athlete credential, and the hole-punch idea may be appropriate for all screening stations if
the format of the credential will allow holes.
When we used permanent marker to indicate delivery of the Grand Prize, the athlete would
rub off the mark and come back for a second Grand Prize. We heard one rumor of an athlete
who had successfully acquired seven Grand Prizes. With a hole punch in the athlete
credential, there will be no question that an athlete has already been awarded the Grand Prize.
There is not much we could do to prevent one of the athletes from selling his 220 V toothbrush
to a person on the street for $35.
Worldfest is an opportunity for our sponsors to have a face in the Special Olympics Town
event. For example, Northwest Airlines provided hundreds of plane rides for Games
participants, but if you didn’t ride their plane to Anchorage, you might not know they made a
contribution to the games. By hosting a booth at Special Olympics Town, Northwest Airlines
was able to have a presence at the games and develop brand awareness.
In Special Olympics Town we offered sponsors and vendors two mechanisms to come into
SOT. Sponsors were given space based on the size of the donation they made to the Games; a
large volume of donation dollars provided more free space in SOT. Vendors could buy space
at SOT (see Appendix 15 for a copy of the document created to sell space at SOT). This is a
complex process, and a bit cumbersome. We sold four places in SOT, and provided only four
spaces to sponsors. Sponsors or vendors underwrote none of our activities.
I was surprised at the timing the vendors used in planning for this event. We had vendors
calling less than one week before we opened the doors to ask for space to set up a booth and
promote their service. That seems like very late planning, and it was fortunate we could make
space to accommodate their requests.
I don’t know all the reasons why we had so little support from sponsors or vendors at this
event. I do know that our Sponsor Relations department had personnel difficulties, and we
lost our lead sales person less than two months before the games. This person had been added
to our team only a few months before the games, and there was more work to do than there
was time. Selling the value of sponsoring activities at SOT was low on the priority list for the
Sponsor Relations people at these games relative to the other tasks that required attention
from that department. With more time and personnel resources, there was an opportunity to
recruit sponsors for the activities at these games. I had visions of “Flight Simulators, brought
to you by Northwest Airlines”, or “Climbing Wall, brought to you by Redfeather”. This is an
opportunity for the sponsors to develop brand awareness, without dedicating employee time to
staffing the SOT schedule for the full ten days. (One complaint from potential sponsors was
the challenge of staffing a booth at SOT through the full ten-day schedule). If a sponsor had
underwritten an activity, the sponsoring company could rely on the volunteers manning the
activity to be on site, and the company would need to support the activity only intermittently.
The company would not need to staff a booth full time if it was an activity at SOT that was
staffed by volunteers.
One decision that was difficult to keep through the planning stages was the decision to sell
only Games Logo merchandise at Special Olympics Town, and make every other activity at
SOT free to the athletes. There was a long line of people and companies that want access to
the Athletes and their wallets. There was pressure to turn this event into sales market, with
table after table of vendor selling things to the athletes and guests. An objective for 2001
SOWWGA Special Olympics Town was to keep everything in the facility free for the athlete’s
participation. We did not want to invite the athletes in, and then make them pay to participate
in any of the activities or events, or to loose the space to sales venues when we could put all of
the available space to work with entertainment opportunities for the athletes. We were able to
maintain that position up to the last two weeks, when one of our supporters finally persuaded
us to let them sell their logo merchandise on the days we had the facility open to the public.
This was the merchandise from the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
It was an advantage to have everything at no cost to the athletes in SOT. I believe this
encouraged the athletes and coaches to come to SOT and enjoy the activities provided. If the
athletes and coaches are at SOT, they are not other places in the community, possibly finding
trouble. As a security and control issue, there is an advantage in keeping athletes at SOT
where the GOC can keep a watchful eye on the guests of the games.
There were vendors who did not keep people in their booths through the full show. It is better
to have these booth spaces manned and operating through all of the open hours of the event.
Staff with Appropriate People:
The heart of this organization, the reason it can function, is the work provided by the
volunteers for Special Olympics. Volunteers do the work that makes these events possible.
We had difficulty with the organization of volunteers at Special Olympics Town.
We had the best volunteers on earth at Special Olympics Town; we could have done a better
job of organizing the education, outfitting and scheduling of these volunteers.
The Volunteer Department for these games did a stellar job of recruiting and preparing for the
volunteer needs. The GOC went through an exercise to decide we needed a total of 5,500
individuals to commit to work a minimum of four shifts each, and a shift is defined as a full
work day (this project was completed five months before the games, and this was not to early!).
Two months prior to the Games, we had a database with nearly 6,000 registered, committed
The difficulties in managing volunteers at SOT were reserved for three areas: Clipped Wings,
Healthy Athletes, and members of the Lions Club International.
In Appendix 16 you will see a copy of the organizational charts for this event. We created a
Venue Management Team, Functional Area Leaders, Activity Leaders and Activity
Attendants. This section of our organization worked fine. We recruited individuals for the
management team and the three leader groups, and these people worked to create Special
Olympics Town. These were the people who met in the six months before the event to talk
about how the activities would work, and how athletes would flow from place to place, and the
details for creating and managing this event. (See Appendix 17 for copies of the meeting
schedules for the Venue Management Team, and the Functional Area Team).
The Functional Area Leaders were the people from different departments with in our
organization, assigned to work at Special Olympics Town. For example, Mary Ann Curtis was
trained to represent the work necessary for the Accreditation Department. She attended our
meetings to help us organize an event that would meet the needs of her department. With this
structure, we were better able to design an event that would meet the needs of the users, by
design, and we could spend less time scrambling during the event to find solutions to
problems. We were better able to forecast problems, and design solutions in the systems we
created for Special Olympics Town.
The Activity Attendants were pulled from the General Volunteer database and these groups
were fine. With both the Leaders and the General Volunteers, the systems in place from the
Volunteer Department adapted to the work we performed.
To support the group of entertainers that performed on the two stages at Special Olympics
Town, we recruited a volunteer to work in the weeks before the event and schedule the various
groups. This one volunteer managed all of the details associated with these performance
groups; schedules, stage needs, etc. We did not develop and implement an adequate plan to
account for and reward the entertainers. We should have spent more time tracking and
rewarding the entertainers. Appendix 18 shows the document we used to track the schedule
for the entertainers at SOT.
One useful tool we used to track and plan for the volunteers on this project was a simple
spreadsheet. A sample of this document is in Appendix 19.
The Volunteer Department systems did not work well for the Clipped Wings, the Healthy
Athletes or the Lions Club.
To train volunteers, we scheduled two days to conduct one-hour training sessions. (See
Appendix 20 to review the outline for the training). The training included discussions about
the specific jobs, and management structure (Appendix 21 for Job Descriptions). We also
reviewed emergency and communications issues for SOT. The emergency systems were not
well developed at the time we conducted the training, so this information was lacking. Also,
because so many of our volunteers were from out of town, the trainings were not provided to
all the people who could have benefited from the class.
The activities for SOT were not set up until the days just prior to the event. It was difficult to
train Activity Attendants in the months before the event, when the facility was not in place.
We used the Site Specific Training to talk about general site issues, (emergencies and lunches,
etc.) and then planned to provide our activity leaders with the information to train the activity
volunteers on the specific activities the first day of the venue.
2001 SOWWGA is supported by the volunteer organization “Americorp”. This group
arranged to provide over 40 people to volunteer at these games, in the weeks before the event,
through the event and to help with the after action work. For Special Olympics Town, we had
one Americorp volunteer assigned to this project four weeks before the event. This volunteer
was able to help with the last minute details associated with the prior organization, and learn
about the event and the people who were volunteering to work at this event. During the days
SOT was open for guests, this volunteer was instrumental in the management structure for the
venue. Because of the information gleaned in the weeks prior to the event, this volunteer was
able to function as a venue manager and help educate volunteers, answer questions, and
generally manage the activities at SOT. The work performed by this volunteer improved the
success of the event.
The Clipped Wings have been strong supporters of Special Olympics for many years. As a
group, they host a reception for the families of the athletes. This is a very nice reception, and
a nice gesture from this group. In games past, the Clipped Wings have had jobs that were a
poor match for their skills. The group asked to work only at Special Olympics Town at the
Anchorage Games. Early predictions indicated the group would provide 75 people for the
venue. By the time the group arrived in Anchorage, we had 105 people on the roster. We had
a forecasted need for Activity Attendants for SOT from 60 to 90 people depending on expected
facility load. When we put the Clipped Wings to work, we have more people than we could use
at SOT, and this creates a volunteer management problem.
The Clipped Wings schedule was a poor match for the Special Olympics Town schedule. The
group wants to work, but can’t commit to the full schedule of SOT, and on a day by day basis
they may need to leave work at SOT to host or participate at a reception. With a workday at
SOT from 2 PM to 9 PM, when a worker leaves to another obligation from 5 PM to 8 PM, it is
difficult to schedule other volunteers to support athletes at the activities during this part of the
daily schedule. Because the Clipped Wings group could only work specific days, the SOT
volunteer event schedule had definite dips and swells. The Clipped Wings schedule dictated
that on some days we had 30% more people scheduled than we had positions and on the next
day, we had only 30% of the people scheduled that we needed to fill the Activity Attendant
positions. The needs of this group created peaks and valleys with the volunteer schedule.
All of the Clipped Wings came to the Games from out of town. None of the members of this
group were local people. Our Volunteer Department created a system to train and distribute
uniforms to volunteers that would meet the needs of local volunteers (far and above the bulk
of the people who made up the volunteer group at these games). Our Volunteer Department
was asked to create a new and special program to accommodate this one group of volunteers.
We were able to create a program that would work, but it did require making one more system
to educate and uniform this group separate and unique from the standard system.
These people are great volunteers who love to work with the athletes, and do a great job. They
do come with a unique set of challenges that will require additional effort to plan and support.
In the big picture, the Healthy Athlete program holds huge potential to have a positive impact
in the lives of athletes. The Healthy Athlete program provides a great free health screening
service for the athletes at World Games. The program also provides a training program for
health professionals from around the world. In a program called Train the Trainer, the
Healthy Athletes bring in health professionals to learn how to work with the mentally
retarded, and take this experience home to educate their peers. This work holds the potential
to impact mentally retarded people in all corners of the world. It is a tremendous program.
Supporting the Train the Trainer program volunteers did not match well with 2001 Games
General Volunteer departmental systems. And we did a poor job of pre negotiating details for
the Healthy Athlete program as it related to the volunteers who would staff the program.
For these games, the schedule for the Train the Trainer program did not completely match the
schedule for Special Olympics Town. The long ten-day schedule was more than was
reasonable for the people in the Train the Trainer program to support. Evidently the previous
standard was a one-week schedule, so to expect the Healthy Athlete program to run ten days,
and to expect the Train the Trainer participants to attend all ten days was not reasonable.
To augment the health professionals in the Train the Trainer schedule who were staffing the
Healthy Athlete Screening stations, we needed to recruit a full complement of people from the
local health care community to support this event. Where initial planning assumed we would
have 150 people involved in the Healthy Athlete Screening program, we ended up with over
450 people in the database as volunteers in the program.
We had not been clear communicating from the beginning who was responsible for what
expenses associated with the Healthy Athlete Screening program. Is SOI responsible for all of
the expenses associated with the Train the Trainer group? Or is the GOC responsible for part
of the expenses generated by this group? Are the uniforms a responsibility of the GOC, or
SOI? For all of the Healthy Athlete volunteers, or just the group who volunteer from the local
community? Who buys lunch? Who is responsible for the expenses at the show hall? GOC
or SOI? Because we were not clear on these points before the Games, we had to sort them out
during the Games, and it is always better to have these details sorted out before…
A second difficulty was related to the Volunteer Registration process. In Anchorage, the
registration process included an application submitted by the volunteer that allowed the GOC
to do a “background check” for the volunteer. The GOC’s position was that a “background
check” was required on all volunteers who were working directly with the athletes (there is a
question whether this is an accurate interpretation of the contract between SOI and GOC).
Combined with technical difficulties in our Web based volunteer registration process, we had
poor success collecting the registration information from the people participating as members
of the Train the Trainer program. As a result, we did not have a record or credential for many
of the people in this group in the Volunteer Data Base. Because this database is the source of
information about our volunteers, this group was poorly served. When we did get them
registered, we then sent all of the Healthy Athlete credentials that had not been distributed at
the Credential Distribution Center to SOT. That left fifty or so local volunteers without a
credential because the credential was not where we had told them it would be stored and
available for pick up. We did a poor job of designing an adequate system for this group of
volunteers. Because of the “loose” system created by the Train the Trainer situation, we
created resentment from local volunteers who made a great effort at our request to apply for
and wear a credential, only to find out the way we implemented the system, they could have
participated with a “Day Pass” with less effort and inconvenience on their part.
One of the screening groups was unable to staff their area through the full ten-day schedule.
As a result, they closed the one screening program on day nine of the ten-day schedule. It was
unfair to the rest of the groups to close this one venue early. By the end of ten days, we were
all a bit tired. It wasn’t a problem to have one of the screening stations close, but it would
have impacted the venue to close more than the one. The place would look prematurely
abandoned. It is better to have all participants at the venue stay with the published schedule.
Another area of contention was the “Fulfillment package”, or uniform we provided for these
If a person volunteered as a general volunteer for these Games, they committed to work four
full shifts. As a general volunteer, the GOC provided a “uniform” (Fulfillment package) that
consisted of a lightweight nylon jacket, a fleece vest, and two long sleeve t-shirts (a nice
package!). In the planning stages, the GOC committed to provide 150 uniforms to the Healthy
Athlete program. As we approached games time, the number of people in the Healthy Athlete
program had far exceeded the early planning figure.
The nature of recruiting specialized volunteers (such as the medical professionals in the
Healthy Athlete Screening program) at this event dictated that we would accept volunteers
willing to work any number or length of shift, even if it was only one, three hour shift on one
afternoon. It seams unfair to provide this volunteer with the same “Fulfillment Package” as
the volunteer working ten days, eight hours per day.
Our solution was to print a separate t-shirt for the Healthy Athlete Volunteers, and give this t-
shirt to all of the Screening program volunteers. And then distribute the full “uniforms” to
the volunteers who had the larger work commitments. This is a system that evolved at the
games. It was created as a last minute solution and it left some people upset with both the
“fulfillment” package they received, and the way we arrived at this solution. We had difficulty
getting commitment from the GOC on uniform and fulfillment package for Healthy Athletes,
and the result is a system that worked, but was not fair to all of the people involved.
Late in the planning cycle for this event, the Lions Club International committed to donate a
large amount of money to the Opening Eyes Program. With this donation, we wanted the
Lions to have visibility at these games. Because the general volunteer schedule was already
full at this event (except for three days that were understaffed due to scheduling problems
created by the Clipped Wings schedules), it became a challenge to negotiate with the Volunteer
Services Department to make space for more volunteers at this venue, and the commensurate
number of uniforms and meals. We made a huge effort to get several Lions Club members
into the SOT schedule in the last few weeks before the event. We ended up with a reasonable
number of Lions visible in the Opening Eyes Screening area. I suggest early contact with
your local District Governor for Lions Club International to identify how many people will be
involved and where.
One of the difficulties we ran into was the “traditions” within the Lions Club organization. As
a group, these people are nearly professional volunteers. They get involved in the community
and they volunteer for projects frequently. As a group, they have systems and “traditions” on
how the group gets involved as volunteers. Our Volunteer systems at Special Olympics do not
manage other ways of doing business well. For example, the Lions group is accustomed to
multiple short shifts of work. Our system was designed to have one-person work one longer
shift. We couldn’t do it their way. This was a problem. Or the person in the Lions Club
who’s job it is to organize and coordinate volunteers. This person’s work was in conflict, and
redundant to, the systems we had in place.
Again, this is a great group of people that do great job working with the athletes. We want
them to work this event. Know this group comes with it’s own set of needs, wants and desires,
and you will be well advised to make contact early in the planning cycle, and decide who is
going to do what work to meet the needs of your athletes and systems.
With an eight-hour work shift, we had an obligation feed the volunteers who reported to work
at SOT. The contract we had with the Egan Center dictated that any meals served at the
Egan, had to come from the Egan kitchen. With it’s reputation for expensive meals, it
required several rounds at the negotiating table to come to conclusion on what to pay for
meals. The Egan provided a “box lunch” similar in content to the meals provided to the rest
of the Games volunteers. These meals were available for the volunteers to access through at
two or three hour window, allowing revolving schedules and the ability to keep volunteers at
the activities supporting the athletes. Both the Egan Staff and GOC volunteers worked to
support the Volunteer Lounge where the lunches were served.
These Functional Area’s were represented at Special Olympics Town:
Each of these Functional Areas was represented in meetings during the six months before the
Games. Each Functional Area had a responsibility to see that our plans for Special Olympics
Town would meet the needs of their area of responsibility. Appendix 17 shows the schedule
for meetings with this group leading up to the games. What follows is a short description of
the work each Functional Area provided at Special Olympics Town.
Accreditation: manned a table in the Lobby at SOT to issue day passes and assist Information
Services staff the Information table
Communications: these people controlled the issuing of two-way radio’s to the staff and
volunteers at SOT. We had a base radio station to back up telephone communications with
the Games Office during the games in the event of an emergency.
Delegation Service: supported the needs of the Delegations, and Heads of Delegation at SOT.
We dedicated one small room to the Heads of Delegations at SOT with a phone and computer
on site for these people to use while the facility was open. The HOD’s did not use this small
Entertainment: arranged all of the entertainment at SOT and organized and managed the
flow of entertainers on and off the two stages at SOT.
Family Service: was available on site at SOT to answer questions and support the activities of
families of the athletes at SOT. These people were only on site during the days we were open
to the General Public, the days families could be on site at SOT.
Honored Guests: maintained an Honored Guest Lounge at SOT for the use of the Honored
Guests at the games.
Image: was responsible to the event to install and maintain the signage at the event. The
planning for the signage at this event was a difficult task. Accurate signage will improve the
quality of the event, and attention to this detail will pay great rewards.
Information Service: was placed at a table at the entrance to the facility to help answer a
sundry of questions. These people used the same table as the Accreditation team and this was
a good match.
Language Service: recruited two or three-dozen people for SOT to use as Activity Attendants
in SOT. These people were then available to translate as the need was identified. We had a
Language Service Leader at a table in the Lobby whose job was to know where all of the
Language Service volunteers were on site, so we could find these people when we identified a
need for service. This system worked, and was a good match to our resources, but we had
several situations where we did not have the correct translator available on short notice. One
of our Language Service Leaders has drafted an After Action Report from her perspective.
This is available in Appendix 22.
Logistics: kept a team of at least two people available on site through the days of the event.
These people managed the flow of goods into and out of the facility. It was necessary to have
these people on site full time and the volunteers we had at this event were willing to support
other activities on site as the need came to light.
Media: was on site with attendants at all times to help the members of the media collect the
information they needed at SOT.
Medical: maintained a complement of three or more teams of two emergency medical response
professionals on site at all times. These people were available to provide immediate response
to health emergencies from our guests, and to deal with any emergency problems identified in
the Healthy Athlete Screening programs.
Merchandise: maintained a complete sales team to promote the 2001 SOWWGA logo
merchandise at this event. Special Olympics Town was the most productive sales venue for
logo merchandise at these games.
Security: had teams of experienced security personnel on site at all times. This team was
instrumental in the smooth operation of this event. The security team controlled access at the
front door, and monitored the flow of guests through the facility at all times. We had local
parole officers in our security team and these people were able to recognize several people who
should not have been at SOT in contact with the athletes. This access to parole officers
allowed us to get these people off site before they could cause a problem.
Technical: managed the three-networked GOC computers on site through the days of the
Transportation: kept a volunteer attendant at the front of the facility to help athletes find their
way on to the correct bus coming and going from Special Olympics Town.
Vendor Relations: was on site to support the vendors at SOT. This person did not have very
much work at this event, and ended up helping host activities in the Honored Guest Lounge,
which was available to the Vendors.
Volunteer Relations: had a big responsibility to see that we had a complete staff of volunteers
at the venue, trained, credentialed and ready to support the guests of this event. These people
would be on site early to check in the day’s volunteers, assign volunteers to activities, and help
to organize the activities of the volunteers on site.
The Egan Center:
The success of this event is due in large part to our access to The William A. Egan Civic and
Convention Center. This convention center is owned by our city government, and as a
supporter of this project, the City waived the rental charges for the use of the facility. We
generated two significant charges from the Egan Center. We hired the facility labor to
support this event, and we purchased our box lunches for the volunteers at SOT from the
This facility was centrally located for the athletes and guests of these games. Because of the
location, it was convenient for the athletes and guests to get to Special Olympics Town. Since
it was convenient, the athletes and guest did use the facility. Location is important.
Our planning committee was able to design an event that was appropriate to the facility. As a
winter event, we wanted this venue inside, in a warm space. The 40,000 square feet (3,700
square meters) that are available at the Egan Center worked out well for the 2,700 athletes
and coaches that attended this event.
The Egan Center is a convention center and as a convention center the facility is equipped
with the amenities to support this event, SOT. We had a large collection of tables available to
SOT, all at no charge to the games, except the labor to move the tables from the back storage
room out to the floor where we had them set up. The same is true for the chairs and some of
the pipe and drape. (The balance of the pipe and drape was provided by ASN.)
The building is designed to have electricity readily available near every location we wanted
electricity. We did not have to make any special arrangements for electricity (except for the
activity “The Bread House”, who used a large amount of electricity).
The design of the facility allowed our security people to control access and manage the
security of the people, facility, and materials.
We spent money hiring Egan Center staff to support this event. These people provided an
additional level of security, janitorial staff to keep the facility clean, support staff to move
furniture and keep the show hall equipment in good working order, technical staff to support
the house public address system, lights and other house systems. Egan staff helped this venue
function at a high level of cleanliness and service for our athletes and guests.
In the week past Special Olympics Town, we convened a meeting of people involved in Special
Olympics Town and talked about the event, and features of the event. The following list is a
summary of comments that came from that meeting, and comments collected from other
sources. See Appendix 23 for the After Action Report from the Commissioner for this venue.
We had one coach with a severe tooth problem on a weekend day. We had not
previously arranged access to an emergency treatment facility and it required several
hours to locate an appropriate facility to treat this medical emergency.
Keep the focus on the athletes.
At the Health Promotion Center we were collecting height, weight, and blood pressure
information. We had not established a protocol for dealing with elevated blood
pressure in the people screened. We did find several people who had elevated blood
pressure, and no policy in place to direct these people to a higher level of health care.
The quality of information and the level of service we provided the athletes was
inhibited because of language problems. The plan we put in place for Language
Services was appropriate for our resources, and situation. But we still ended up with
many non-English speakers in Special Olympics Town, separated from their English
translator, walking through activities and only receiving part of the message that was
Is it possible to group the athletes, or pre-schedule the athletes, to be in the Healthy
Athlete Screening areas with a translator?
When designing Healthy Athlete education stations, use professional resources to
produce display boards that communicate with out language, and are appropriate to
the mentally retarded target audience.
Promote “Language Days” at Healthy Athlete Screenings. For example, Tuesday is
Spanish Day, and Wednesday is German Day. On these days work to have extra
numbers of translators available in the screening stations.
At each Healthy Athlete Screening Station, create simple language cards to translate
key words and help tell the story of the education station.
Create specific category in the Volunteer Data base to account for Healthy Athlete
Volunteers. Their needs are different from General Volunteers, and several problems
were created by not treating this group specifically by their needs.
Keep the focus on the athletes.
Avoid day passes to credential volunteers as much as possible. Design systems that
provide all volunteers with a full credential.
Require all participants in the Special Olympics Town Venue to staff their booth or
workspace through the full schedule.
We talked about where to put Nutrition; with the Health Promotion Center, or back
with Smiles, where they started and have a history. Our group promotes the Health
Promotion Center as the best place for the Nutritionist.
Can you implement a Bar Code tracking system for the athletes? This would facilitate
using computer to track who had been through which screening stations, and speed the
data entry at the data collection points.
Keep communications open between the Train the Trainer program and local
We had difficulty with two young volunteers at SOT. Their work at SOT was ignored
and they turned their time at to play. We could have managed their time better, or sent
them home, as they were a distraction to the work at hand.
In the USA, the council that promotes the use of milk products has a popular
advertising campaign, “Got Milk”. Combined with an opportunity to get your picture
take with a famous sport personality, the athletes had their picture taken repeatedly.
With 1,750 athletes in town, we used approximately 2,500 images.
Locating people in SOT was difficult. We had poor success with the public address
system. We had better success looking for the correct uniform, and asking for a person
by name. The key is being able to find the correct uniform. It would be helpful to have
the country name easy to read on the uniform.
To facilitate uniform identification, it may be helpful to include a cross-reference
chart, correlating uniform color to the country.
Security also had several times where they lost a coach. An athlete would be found
alone, and when asked who the coach was, the athlete would not know. It would be
helpful to include the coaches’ name on the athletes credential.
Honored Guest tags should include a name identifying who the person is and how they
fit with the games.
As a winter games, we included a coat check station at SOT. This service was used all
day, every day.
We used the Games warehouse to store and move materials for Healthy Athletes, and
other groups at SOT. It was difficult to get these groups to label their freight well. We
had several shipments without enough information to correctly deliver. You can’t
encourage these users often enough to label their freight well.
We missed an opportunity on our days we had the facility open to the general public to
educate the members of our community about mental retardation. We could have had
information available in the form of posters or brochures to talk about integrating
mentally retarded people, or about the rules with the games (divisioning) etc.
Security recruited several local parole officers to work on the security team at SOT.
These people on at least two occasions were able to help get people out of Special
Olympics Town that didn’t belong. People with convictions for crimes that would
indicate these people shouldn’t be with our athletes. It was a good strategic move to
have these parole officers on our volunteer roster.
Entertainers were not included as general volunteers in our volunteer database. The
entertainers were scheduled to provide one 20-minute show, and as such did not meet
the minimum four-shift requirement for general volunteers. Because of this situation,
the entertainers were not given volunteer credentials. Since the entertainers did not
have a credential, this created a security control problem for our security team. We
should have included a more effective system to credential and track the entertainment
We needed better communication with Transportation on the first days of our event.
We had several problems due to the lack of information on the days before Opening
Ceremonies. The solution was to spend time before the event and educate our
volunteers at the front end on how the Transportation system works.
At the beginning of each day, our Volunteer Department would sign in all volunteers.
The people doing the sign in work would find a line of eager volunteers every day. It
would have streamlined the process to have the sign in process start a little earlier each
day. Maybe an hour before the doors open to the athletes.
Keep the focus on the athletes.
We had several communications problems with volunteers and guests who had
difficulty understanding our schedule, and the hours we were open for business. Early
in the process, make your best decision on schedule, and stick to it. No changes. I had
groups of people showing up to work at 9:00 AM on days we did not open for business
until 2 PM.
Family members had difficulty understanding the rule that said on “athlete only” days,
that only athletes and coaches were welcome at SOT.
We had a US Postal Kiosk at Special Olympics Town with a special cancellation stamp
for items posted from SOT. It would have been nice to have produced a specific post
card for this event to work with the cancellation stamp.
AT and T (the telephone company) sponsored 16 Internet connected computers for our
athletes to use. It was a great and well-received activity. The computers had filtering
software to limit user access to inappropriate web sites. With the variety of languages
in use, the software had holes, and our attendants needed to stay active to reduce the
number of athletes at inappropriate web sites.
We installed two performance stages at SOT. We did not fully utilize either stage, and
might have reached a similar result with less stage space.
We, unfortunately, ignored the concept of promoting SOT on the outside of the
building we occupied. We did not have any big showy banners, or displays outside the
Egan Center to draw attention to the event inside.
The Egan Center is located on one of the busier streets in our town. It would have
been helpful to assign a volunteer to work as a crossing guard at peak traffic times to
help our foreign guests avoid problems at the road crossing near SOT.
Build emergency plans early so this information can be included in the volunteer
Proactively communicate with the risk management team
Create an effective communications plan for SOT to manage emergency situations and
general questions from guests and volunteers.
The budgets for this project are included in Appendix 24. First is an early budget
forecasting expenses, and the second is a copy of the budget showing where the
expenses came in for the activities and decorations at the end of this project.
Access to accurate CAD (computer aided design) floor plans was instrumental in
effectively planning this event.
In Anchorage, we needed a permit from our local Fire Marshall to conduct this event.
Open communications early in the planning stages with this group to prevent planning
an event the Fire Marshall won’t accept.
We included Astronauts as invited guests to this event. These people were treated as
“Honored Guests” in our organization and this process required prior planning.
In Anchorage we had a team of people and systems in place to manage the flow of
materials from the warehouse to SOT; the Logistics Team. Maintain clear
communications with this group to facilitate the flow of products and materials to the
The role of SOT Coordinator required involvement in the Venue Management Team.
The VMT was a games wide committee that addressed games wide questions. The
committee was primarily Venue Coordinators, with Functional Area’s represented. It
was important to be involved with this committee to educate the rest of the coordinators
about SOT, and to help ensure games policies implemented didn’t cause difficulties for
SOT had an Internet Web presence. The SOT page was buried in the menu structure,
and not as prominent as I would like to see. I don’t know if the Web presence helped
people understand what to expect at SOT before they arrived, or to help vendors and
sponsors understand how SOT could support their work at the Games. See Appendix
25 for the written copy used as source document for the Web page.
Through the planning stages for this event, we were calling this venue “Olympic
Town”. We were corrected part way through the process by SOI to be sure to use the
name “Special Olympics Town” for this project. There is the potential for conflict with
the Olympics if we are not clear to use this prescribed language.
See Appendix 26 for the copy used in the Head of Delegation Guide.
At SOT we only produced one published document specifically for SOT. This was the
Map. We used a pictorial format instead of an architectural floor plan to keep this
document fun and more of a collector’s piece for the athletes. We printed 15,000 and
did not distribute but half of the maps. See Appendix 27 for a copy of the map.
You can expect no interference from SOI. I can only recall one short conversation
(during the event) with the SOI staff regarding the overall goals, intent and execution
of plans at SOT.