Winter 2012

Monroe County Special Olympics

Area 34

Money raised by Monroe County Special Olympics Polar Plungers—making Monroe’s first ever Polar Plunge a huge success!

Minutes that the Alpine Ski Team was stuck in an elevator when the electricity went out at The Grand Traverse Resort during Winter Games 2012
Suzanne Gyde and Jessica Fruit warm up after making the “Polar Plunge” at The Clamdiggers Lounge & Pizzaria.

78 People made the freezing jump into the River Raisin as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics Organization. Special Olympics Michigan projects to raise over $1 million from this year’s Polar Plunge.

First Annual Polar Plunge Success
It was 29 degrees in Monroe on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012. The River Raisin was frozen as divers used chainsaws to cut a hole off the docks of Clamdigger on Front Street. Monroe Community Ambulance attended the event along with approximately 250 spectators to watch this unique fundraiser that raised nearly $15,000 for Special Olympics in Monroe County and Special Olympics Michigan. 78 plungers jumped into the freezing cold water, most of them wearing crazy costumes. There were 5 guest judges including Don Spencer, Superintendent from the Monroe County ISD; Dale DeSloover, School Board Member of the ISD & parent of a local athlete; Dale Zorn, Representative; Shane Held, owner of Mugsy's & Monroe Sports Center; and, Robert Patterson, Swimming, Golf, and Poly Hockey athlete. The judges chose Ryan Knoblauch, dressed in a tuxedo, as the winnner of the costume contest. Ryan is the Alpine Ski coach for the local program. Raising the most money was Todd Sulfaro, who brought in $1000 for Special Olympics! Todd is a deputy working at Monroe High School. Other people that attended the event included Summerfield High School, Floral City Roller Girls, Monroe County ISD teachers and staff members, parents of local athletes, Special Olympic coaches, and Dundee Chrysler Engine Plant workers. A special “thank you” goes to Glenn Shannon at Clamdigger for helping sponsor this event! The Polar Plunge will be an annual event in Monroe. If you have any questions or comments about the Polar Plunge- you can contact the coordinators for this event. Stacie Ourlian, Area Director, (734) 242-5799 ext. 4227 or; Jennifer Musulin, Mgt Team Member, (734) 242-5799 or 1

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What is Bocce?
Bocce is an Italian game. The basic principle of the sport is to roll a bocce ball closest to the target ball, which is called a pallina. Bocce as a Special Olympics sport provides people with special needs the opportunity to have social contact, develop physically, and to gain self-confidence. Next to soccer and golf, bocce is the third most participated sport in the world. Bocce is usually a predominantly “non-winter” sport, as it is usually played outdoors. There is no reason, however, why bocce could not be played year-round. The overall goal is for each athlete to acquire basic bocce skills, appropriate social behavior and functional knowledge of the rules necessary to participate successfully in bocce competitions. If you are interested in trying Bocce Ball, please fill out the Special Olympics Sports Registration Form at Area34register2011 or contact Brittany Stevens 734770-6622 or

Special Olympics Weightlifting in Monroe
It's here! Weightlifting has become the 19th sport that Special Olympics in Monroe County offers as a choice to the 655 athletes they service. Weightlifting is a sport that will challenge athletes to see how many situps, pushups, and bench presses they can complete in 60 seconds. Athletes will build body strength, learn proper form, and appropriate socialization skills. They will practice at Powerhouse Gym, a local supporter of Special Olympics. Weightlifting will be a part of the Spring sports which will start in mid-March to early April. Practices will be held on Saturday mornings and be coached by Stacie Ourlian and Tammy Hemdal. If you would like more information or have questions about volunteering or signing up an athlete, please contact Stacie at or (734) 242-5799 ext. 4227 or Tammy Hemdal at


Be sure to visit our official webpage for updates: and


Monroe Falcons and Thunderbirds Play Double-Double Header
Over 100 people packed two basketball courts at Monroe Community College on January 12 to watch the Monroe Falcons and the Monroe Thunderbirds play a "Double-Double Header" against the Saline Stingers and the Saline Bumble Bees. Both teams are Division 9. One very special highlight of the night was that Saline had a female player that was blind who was able to maneuver the court with an assistant. The athlete took several shots at the hoop and when she did all the players relaxed and watched her shoot the basketball. She lit up the crowd with a big smile. It was truly touching for all of those in attendance. Saline Coach Glen Tomford recapped the entire night, "This is the way that Special Olympics Basketball should be.” He was right. Special Olympics have very relaxed rules to make the game fun, yet competitive. First, the game is played with an out of bounds, and second, there are no football fullback full court carries without dribbling. Both Monroe teams won both games. The final scores will always be a secret-because we really don't care either way. Our thanks to Monroe Community College for their help and gracious accommodations for a great night in Special Olympics Basketball. Monroe County currently has 4 basketball teams with varying skill levels. The 4 teams are coached by Tony Vincintini, Heidi Ruhlig, Tom Imlach/Don Barber, and Tim McCart.

Be sure to visit our official webpage for updates: and

Michigan State Winter Games Held February 7-10 in Traverse City, Michigan
The 2012 Special Olympic State Winter Games were a great success February 7-9, in spite of a lack of snow in Northern Michigan. Twenty three athletes from Monroe County competed in Winter events such as speed skating, figure skating, snowshoe, nordic and alpine ski. Competitors were housed at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, Michigan along with a delegation of more than 1200 athletes and coaches from all over the state. Athlete numbers were up for the fourth year in a row! Venues of competition included The Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Schuss Mountain, and the Howe Ice Arena at the Grand Traverse Civic Center.

(above) Laurie Pilicoff was the first figure skater for Monroe County, and earned herself two gold medals. The team is coached by Laurel Rosen-Weatherford.

Be sure to check out our Winter Games Videos at

athlete spotlight
An Enriching Activity in My Life By Anna Krieger
Being involved in Special Olympics sports makes me a better person. I am a member of both the soccer and basketball Special Olympics sports teams. Special Olympics have taught me to work with a team. At first I was afraid to try something new, I had to learn how to interact with my peers. Special Olympics helps me to improve my listening and following directions skills. I also get the chance to become a positive leader for my teammates. It is important for me to show good sportsmanship and work hard. Special Olympics has become something very important in my life, I am glad that I got involved.
Anna Krieger Bedford High School Favorite Foods: Goldfish crackers, pizza, hamburgers, chewing gum, bologna sandwich, spaghetti Favorite Drinks: Gatorade (red), water, Coke Zero, slushies Favorite Music: Rock and Pop Favorite Songs: Far Away by Ncikleback, Umbrella by Rhianna, It’s Not My Time by 3 Doors Down Favorite Teams: Michigan Football and Special Olympics Soccer & Basketball teams I am excited with the possibility of becoming Interesting Fact: Anna has a twin (her brother Anthony is 2 minutes older) involved in NHS. By getting involved, it Future Plans: Anna would like to be a police officer makes my time at high school fun. I enjoy Person she admires: Anna admires her mom Nadine trying new things and am willing to work hard because “she is a hard worker and no matter how to be a good representative for my school. busy she is, mom always finds time to do nice Even though I am a special needs student, I things for me. Anna has been involved in Special Olympics understand the importance of working hard, doing my very best. By doing this it helps me for almost 2 years now. She participates in soccer, basketball, softball, and track & field. to grow and mature and become the very

NHS is also a team so the skills I am learning through Special Olympics are transferable to what I may be doing while participating in NHS. I've learned that it is important for people to work together. Special Olympics has taught me to be a good listener, something that I will also need to be a good NHS member.

best student and learner I can possibly be.


what’s to come
Calendar of Events

March 15-April 6th April 23 May 11 June 23

Spring Sports Begin Buffalo Wild Wings Dine-to-Donate Track & Field Meet at Jefferson High School Lobster Crawl 5K/Athlete Walk-a-thon at Munson Park

All sports beginning dates vary. If you do not hear from a coach by April 1st, please contact them.
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Spring Sports Begin in Mid-March to Early April
Monroe County Special Olympics will begin its Spring Sports season by April. Athletes may participate in only one sport per season, although everyone is welcome to take part in the Annual Track and Field Meet on May 11th at Jefferson High School. Events Include:
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Aquatics (Swimming) Athletics (Track & Field) Bocce Bowling Gymnastics Power Lifting Volleyball Weight Lifting Motor Activities Training Program (designed for athletes with severe/profound handicaps— currently no state competition is planned)

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