By Jack Krasnof
The New Hampshire Special Olympics Winter Games was an inspiring event in which I was a participant over February break. A large group of Derryfield upper school students and faculty took the hour-and-a-half bus ride from Derryfield to Waterville Valley Ski Resort to volunteer at the first Special Olympics Winter Games since 2020.
From the beginning of the opening ceremony Sunday night, there was an enthusiastic energy that captivated both volunteers and athletes alike. At the opening ceremony athletes representing different teams proceeded around the center circle of the town square, holding their team signs in the air, cheering, and high-fiving the crowd. When the Olympic flame was lit by one of the athletes, fireworks went off in the distance, and the games officially began.
The next two days were filled with competition and remarkable athletic accomplishments. Athletes participated in snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and downhill skiing. One highlight of the Winter Games was the dance on Monday night. Athletes enjoyed a Thanksgiving-like dinner before heading to the third floor of the base lodge at Waterville to dance the night away. This dance is usually the athletes’ favorite part of the Winter Games, and it certainly did not disappoint this year. On Tuesday, athletes competed to win more medals in both the morning and afternoon, before the games came to a close by the end of the day.
Volunteering at the Special Olympics Winter Games was an extremely rewarding experience–being able to help the athletes have an amazing weekend of competition and fun. Volunteers helped to set up courses for various events, transported food and beverages for the meals provided for athletes and volunteers, kept time during events, cheered on athletes while they competed, and brought a positive attitude and willingness to volunteer. I cannot wait for the chance to volunteer next year at the Special Olympics Winter Games next year and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a rewarding volunteer experience.