Meeting slated for Special Olympics


Step by step, Special Olympics is being revived in Jackson County.

The first offering will be a unified fitness club, giving athletes ages 8 and up and partners an opportunity to walk and do other activities together every Thursday year-round. Clubs are formed using the Unified Sports model, pairing people with and without disabilities.

Walking is the primary activity, and participants earn points by tracking activity data collected from a fitness band and receive incentives based on points accumulated.

“Walking is suggested to be the main activity because it’s appropriate for all levels of fitness, doesn’t require a facility or equipment and helps participants earn miles quickly,” said Shellie McCulley, county coordinator of Special Olympics Indiana-Jackson County.

Clubs also are encouraged to expand the range of activities based on the resources of the community and interests of the group.

Anyone interested in being involved may attend an informational meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the meeting room on the first floor of the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour.

The first club meeting will be at 6 p.m. April 5 at Seymour-Jackson Elementary School, 508 B Ave. East, Seymour. The plan is to meet in the parking lot for everyone to walk together.

Before participating in the club, athletes and partners must turn in all of the forms required by Special Olympics Indiana. Athletes must fill out an application for participation and a medical form, and partners must be a Class A volunteer and complete the online training.

Forms may be obtained by emailing McCulley at [email protected] or downloaded online at and clicking on “Resources.” Partners also can visit the same website to do the online volunteer training.

Meetings will continue at 6 p.m. Thursday for the remainder of the year.

“The larger the group, the easier it is to match people by ability for training,” McCulley said.

The club will be led Crystal Ackeret, treasurer of Special Olympics Indiana-Jackson County, and her daughter, Haley.

Special Olympics Indiana will provide Movbands to track steps, miles and moves. The data should be synced and recorded to the Special Olympics Indiana platform at least once a week.

Club members may be asked to provide health metrics, including height, weight, blood pressure, resting heart rate, steps and a lifestyle survey, to help document the positive impact of the program.

Clubs and participants earn incentives for reaching various levels of activity. Those include jackets, bags, hats and a 100-mile club patch.

Periodic challenges will be organized to focus training and create intraclub interaction, and regional and state walks are offered periodically.

Once a month during a club meeting, there will be a lesson on a health topic, such as stretching, hydration or nutrition, as provided by Special Olympics Indiana.

Guests could be invited to talk about various topics, such as the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and balanced meals. Ideas also could be shared for activities the athletes could do the rest of the week to increase their activity level.

“I think it will be a great way for volunteers and athletes to get to know each other and help build relationships within the group,” Ackeret said of the club. “With the challenges and incentives involved with the club, it will hopefully be a great way to get everyone motivated to move more and lead a healthier lifestyle.”

Having her own girls in the club — Haley as an athlete and Hannah as a volunteer — Ackeret said it also will help their relationship by having something else in common.

“So hopefully, this would also be something for other families to be able to do together, to have a weekly family activity,” Ackeret said.

Special Olympics Indiana is a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The county management team will announce other sports that will be offered this year when that information becomes available.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”On the Web” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

For information about Special Olympics Indiana-Jackson County, contact county coordinator Shellie McCulley by email at [email protected].

For information about Special Olympics Indiana, visit

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Informational meeting about joining a unified fitness club, led by Special Olympics Indiana-Jackson County

When: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Meeting room on the first floor of the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour.

Who: Athletes ages 8 and up and partners interested in getting involved are invited to attend


No posts to display