Monday, December 5, 2022

Special Olympics Team Schuylkill Brought Disney to Schuylkill County to End Flag Football Season


There are moments in your life; whether they can be good times, bad times, or exceptional times that will last in your memory bank forever. An event on Saturday, November 19th, at Penn State Schuylkill has introduced that core thought for nearly 200 children and Special Olympic athletes. The weather may have been cold but that did not stop the warm hearts of the families and children that got to experience this amazing event.
This event coincided with Special Olympics flag football team as Team Schuylkill faced off against Team Monroe County. Team Schuylkill, the PA silver medal winner at the fall games in Villanova, has been on an incredible journey this year. Spearheading this initiative is Head coach of Schuylkill Jordan Green. Green is supported by Special Olympics Sports leader Mark Mamrosh who both describe all these events as “making the impossible possible.” 

The two also have meaningful quotes to raise excitement to the athletes and bring awareness to the amazing cause of Special Olympics. Green always asks the athletes when breaking the huddle “when has impossible ever stopped you?” With the athletes enthusiastically yelling “never!” 

Mamrosh follows with his awareness quote “one touches some but many touch all.” The key to this entire season is to bring awareness and excitement to all the masses from young to old!

This season Special Olympics Schuylkill County have welcomed sports stars and charitable icons. On September 17th, former Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Freddie Mitchell made an appearance and was the first guest to run through the tunnel of smoke for Special Olympics. He told us after the event “bringing everyone together is very very huge in making the world a better place”. Chartable icon and daughter of heavyweight champion Muhammed Ali’s, Khalilah Ali made her entrance out of the smoke-filled tunnel on October 1st. Khalilah said of the event “I look forward to the years to come, and to participate in this organization and further my father’s legacy by being a part of the community.” Professional Baseball player and Pottsville Native Travis Blankenhorn made his way through the tunnel on October 22nd. He said about the event “it’s nice to give back to the community that has supported me throughout my career.” Along with these guest’s local school districts and companies have also supported Special Olympics. With all this being said, “I would say that Penn State Schuylkill auxiliary field has turned into the “Field of Dreams” as Jordan and Mark continue to try to knock the word impossible out of the dictionary.”

Disney Event

The Disney event was a great success as all money raised was profit to this organization. Ticket Sales and concessions netted $1,678. 

Chris Ebling, program director for the County Special Olympics said “I could not be happier with the turnout. I am so proud of how our community came together to support a great cause.” 

This event was made possible by the sponsors that paid the entire expenses that were necessary to have the characters arrive there and keep everyone happy and comfortable. Monetary sponsors included Bob Matta, Judy Green, Heim Construction, Ed Querin, Abby Nelson, Bill Kirwin, Fighters Heaven, and Ryan Buchanan. Arc Rentals provided 5 outdoor heaters along with the propane necessary to help keep everyone warm.

Saturday had an Epic feel to it as team Schuylkill had sold over 150 tickets to kids 18 and under, as adults were free, and packed the field with over 350 people on a blockbuster event. From the Grand Entrance from Anna, Elsa, Moana, Mirabel, Jasmine, Buzz Light Year and Mickey & Minnie Mouse entered the field as the sound of a powerful musical orchestra blasted over the hills of Schuylkill County.

As each character was announced, they entered through a smoke-filled tunnel to be greeted by an enormous crowd! Following the introduction, Elsa, Anna, along with Mirabel performed “Let It Go” in the middle of the field as a sea of kids were dancing in pure happiness and excitement. There was a lot of great feedback from the community about the event. This included feedback from children of all ages feeling like kids again. Here is some great feedback from some parents and children.

Feedback

Heather Maccarone, Pottsville, attended with her children, family members and friends which included her daughters Haley and Kyla Maccarone, her mother Nancy Menchey, her sister Ashley Long, her niece Scarett Long, and friends Kelly and Matt Miller with their daughter Mackenzie Miller. When Heather was asked about the event she replied” I am so thankful it was kid friendly. It’s not often events are geared towards the younger ones. It was a great opportunity to get the young children involved in a community event while supporting Special Olympics. My family had a wonderful time with the children meeting the characters up close and personal. I am thankful to all those involved who made it such an amazing event. Heather’s daughter Haley Maccarone was asked what her favorite part of the Disney event was. Haley responded, “my favorite part was when Elsa and Anna came out and I liked taking pictures with them, and Moana, Buzz, Mickey and Minnie.”

Kelly Motuk, Pottsville, visited the event with her daughter Cleo. When asked what did you think of the Disney Event? Cleo replied smiling “It was so fun!” What was your favorite part, Cleo? “Everything! And I got to talk to the princesses.”

Kaitlynn Bensinger, Orwigsburg, attended with her husband RJ and their children Conner and Everly. Kaitlynn told us “We had a great time. The kids loved seeing the characters! Each one of them were amazing with the kids and really stuck to their character. It was a cold day, but the cold did not bother the kids with all the excitement. The kids enjoyed hopping from line to line to see each character and enjoyed a delicious cupcake at the end.

Allie Doran, Pottsville, who visited with her daughter Madi. Allie tells us “We were so impressed with the characters, music & turnout! The costumes were so realistic, and the characters really took the time to make the kids feel special. Thank you to the Special Olympics team for making our daughter’s first princess meeting so special.”

Special Olympics Flag football athletes also had a great time at the event. Julieann Kosak “My favorite Disney princess was Elsa. Overall Disney experience was amazing to us as the Special Olympics athletes to feel amazing. I’m so proud of Team Schuylkill flag football team for only 4 months next year at Villanova we will and have to bring back the gold medal home. The Disney characters through the tunnel I think the boost the Special Olympics team Schuylkill flag football team to bring home the goal for next year. Due to any weather, we will play in any condition. From this year the sliver we will get the gold medal next year and take it up to the next level. As captain I’m the beast from the east of the team from the Disney event we raised overall $1,687 feels good to see and hear that so many people care about the team

Abbie Jefferson reflected on the event. “I liked everything! Jasmin was awesome and the event made me feel awesome. It was cool seeing all my characters and loved being with her Special Olympics family.”

Summary of the event

The goal of this event for Chris, Jordan and Mark was to create a “Triple Win.”

Chris Ebling reflects on the event “The event was great and brought a new crowd to Special Olympics. Look at the smiles on everyone’s faces, this is why we do what we do, as leaders for Schuylkill County Special Olympics.”

Jordan Greens reflects on the event “We are proud of what we were able to do! It took a lot of hard work and strategic planning to be able to orchestrate this event! As the same principles our athletes use - if you believe in your heart, you can do something, you will 100% do it! I mean that not just for our Special Olympic athletes this goes for anyone with a Dream or a Goal! Be passionate about what you want to accomplish, and if you want it bad enough nothing will stand in your way to get it!” Mark Mamrosh reflects on the event “This event was truly indescribable. The positive nature of the event and its success serve as a beacon to what this community should be all about.”

The triple win vision for this event was to raise money, create awareness, and give Special Olympic athletes and the general public the opportunity to experience that magic of Disney without leaving the county. The Special Olympic Volunteers are paid in smiles. Last Saturday felt like hitting the lottery for those that made this a success. Events like this truly make us feel like “the real rich.” Next year we will even make it more of a blockbuster event by creating more memories and Magical moments".

Submitted Photos






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