Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, started the concept of Special Olympics in 1963 as a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities to provide them with the therapeutic effects of physical fitness and sports.
In 1968, she organized the first International Special Olympics Games, where 1,000 athletes from the United States, Canada and France competed. That year, Special Olympics was founded as a nonprofit organization.
Special Olympics Ventura County is a grassroots organization whose funding comes from and remains in Ventura County. Donations are used to support over 700 Ventura County athletes, ages 8 and up (there is no maximum age), in 10 different year-round sports programs at over 20 different training sites, county-wide.
Spring/summer programs offered in the February to June time frame includes athletics, aquatics, basketball, bocce and golf. Fall/winter programs offered from August to mid-December include bowling, soccer, softball, volleyball and tennis.
Special Olympics Ventura County has two full-time staff assisted by hundreds of volunteers to provide free-of-charge programs to individuals with intellectual disabilities. All athletes have some degree of intellectual disability, and many have physical challenges as well.
To learn how you can support Special Olympics Ventura County through donations and/or volunteering your time, visit www.sosc.org/ventura or call 805.650.7717.
To learn more about becoming a Special Olympics Ventura County athlete, visit www.sosc.org/page.aspx?pid=442.
Special Olympics Ventura County is a division of Special Olympics Southern California, which supports over 13,000 athletes in 11 participating counties.
Globally, Special Olympics supports over 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries with the support of over one million coaches and volunteers. Special Olympics delivers training and competition opportunities in 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 70,000 events throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.