On March 25, 2019 there will be a Special Olympics day taking place at Russell County Detachment; this day marks the 50-day countdown to the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics will be celebrated by members of 50 communities, including in Russell, with the support of the Russell County Ontario Provincial Police. The supporters are hoping to raise money for the “Draft an Athlete Campaign” which will help draft student athletes to Toronto in order to compete in the Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games taking place May 14 to May 17, in Toronto. Every $1, 000 raised for the “Draft an Athlete Campaign” will pay for one competing student; 100 per cent of the profits raised will go towards drafting and taking care of the participants.

This year’s Invitational Youth Games (IYG) will be the first time that high-school aged students with intellectual disabilities will be able to participate on the world stage; the event will also be hosted by the Toronto Police Service. The IYG will feature five different sports this year: basketball, bocce, floor hockey, track and field and soccer; all five offer two types of team set-ups, one which involves only students with intellectual disabilities and the other which involves all students with or without disabilities playing together.

The Special Olympics can be a good bounding experience, as shown by Alexi Legault and Sébastien Beauchesnes. Those two young men are students at Ecole Secondaire Catholique Casselman who have developed a strong friendship thanks to the Special Olympics. They qualified for this year’s IYG for floor Hockey and will play together before Legault’s time as a high-school student is over. This event will bring 2,500 student athletes from around the world together in friendly competition.

The Special Olympics day takes place at Russell County Detachment-411 New York Central Avenue, Embrun, Ontario, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the morning.