Chris Sciacca/The Daily ItemNorthumberland/Snyder Counties Special Olympics swim team member Tammy Broscious practices her breaststroke in the Shamokin High School pool.

SELINSGROVE -- Arden Miller, the swimming coach with the Northumberland-Snyder Special Olympics program, said her athletes need help.

"Starting with the upcoming May 31 swim event at the Shamokin Middle-High School pool," Miller said, "We need volunteers."

They are needed to:

n Time events.

n Help with awards. Determine the places, prepare the ribbons, present the ribbons to athletes.

n Escort athletes to the lanes before events. Special Olympics athletes are always supported in getting to the event and the correct lane.

n Prepare and serve a meal to the athletes and their coaches.

n Prepare and sell food for to helpers and visitors.

"Special Olympics events usually have an Olympic Village, with entertainment for athletes who are not competing," Miller noted. "We usually have a movie running in the cafeteria and would need someone to supervise the athletes watching the movie."

She also said the program has long-term volunteer needs.

"We need coaches," she said. "While playing the sport yourself is always helpful, a volunteer does not necessarily need to have ever participated in the sport.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania provides training to coaches and has great handbooks that give ideas on how to teach the various skills an athlete needs to know to compete at their own level of accomplishment."

Coaches may reside anywhere in the two-county area.

"We can assist the coach in finding a training site close to their home if there is a population of Special Olympic athletes interested in the sport in that location," Miller said. "It does help to have a training site in a more populated area so fewer athletes have to travel great distances. It also increases the possibility of finding other volunteers to help at practices."

Special Olympics coaches are responsible for practices, taking athletes to the sectional competition and to the statewide competition.

"We need a golf coach," she said. "This is a summer season sport, which means that practices would start in the spring and end with the statewide games at PSU at the beginning of June."

The group is searching for an athletics coach (track and field events). This is also a summer season sport, with practices that start in the spring and end with the statewide games at PSU.

"We're looking for a soccer coach as well," she said. "This is a fall season sport, with practices that start late summer and end with the statewide games at Villanova University at the beginning of November; soccer can be skills, or teams of different sizes."

Management team positions are available. "The group needs a family coordinator -- a person who supports the families and friends of athletes by keeping them informed of activities, planning activities," Miller said. "And we're looking for volunteer coordinators, whose job it is to recruit volunteers for coaching positions and competitions. An outreach coordinator is also needed. This person recruits new athletes."

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