Familiar faces from Unity College will once again serve athletes at the 2012 Maine Winter Special Olympics, slated for January 29 through the 31st at Sugarloaf Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine.
For over a decade Unity College students have served as volunteers to the event, some of whom went on to pursue careers in the helping professions.
Jeremy Cass ’03 (center, back row with Unity College student volunteers), a Visiting Instructor of Adventure Therapy, fondly recalls serving as a volunteer during his undergraduate years at Unity College. He will lead this year’s group of volunteers, all of whom are students in a class he teaches entitled Universal Programming. The class is designed to introduce students to the breadth and scope of recreational and adventure based services for people with disabilities.
“Unity has a longstanding legacy of community service which includes service to the Maine Winter Special Olympics,” Cass said. “This class pursues a person centered approach, seeing the person as the sum of their strengths rather than defined by their challenges.”
Over the course of the Olympics students will be involved in preparing the opening ceremony, act as timers and support for the snowshoe races, and help to facilitate the gala event.
“Students will have the opportunity to observe one of the most visible adaptive universal services,” noted Cass. “Maine was the first state to hold the International Winter Special Olympics.”
Cass added that students often gain a firsthand understanding of the different career paths available in service to diverse populations, an asset to those pursuing careers after earning their degree in Adventure Therapy or Adventure Based Environmental Education.
“Unity College has been vital in the snowshoe event over the past ten years and our support of the event means a lot to the organization and athletes,” Cass stated. “Organizers have told us that Unity’s involvement is critically important. We are proud of our continuing involvement and I am personally proud that our students live up to the expectations of our mission statement, which stresses the importance of service to community and environmental leadership.”
For more information on the 2012 Maine Winter Special Olympics visit the organization web site at http://www.specialolympicsmaine.org/.
Unity College is a small private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education which emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.
In 2011, Unity College was named to the top 30 of the Washington Monthly college rankings, and was one of eighteen U.S. colleges and universities named to The Princeton Review’s 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll.