Penn State

Special Olympics needs ‘hundreds’ more volunteers to make its 50th anniversary happen

Special Olympics of Pennsylvania is in need of hundreds of volunteers to staff its three-day, 50th annual summer games held at Penn State this Thursday to Saturday.

“Same as previous years, we actually need hundreds, if not a thousand, volunteers to actually make the games happen this year,” said Wenona Sutton, marketing communications manager for Special Olympics PA.

So far, about 700 volunteers are registered for this year’s games, but the event needs about 300 more, she said. About 2,000 athletes from all over Pennsylvania participate in the games every year, she said.

“We still have quite a bit of spots to fill,” she said.

The organization needs general event volunteers to assist with athlete arrival, luggage assistance and equipment tear down. It also needs sports-specific volunteers, including scorekeepers, runners, timers, lane monitors, announcers, judges and more.

Volunteers can choose from different time slots on the organization’s website, from three to four hours to a full-day commitment, Sutton said.

To register as a volunteer, visit and follow the volunteer registration process.

Preliminary summer games competitions begin Thursday, with opening ceremonies following at 7:30 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena on Penn State’s campus. The State College Area High School marching band and Harmony, Penn State’s multidisciplinary performing arts club, will perform at the ceremonies, which end with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron by the Flame of Hope — carried by participants of the ninth annual “Be a Fan” torch run.

Torch run participants start Tuesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, with 400 law enforcement officers running 150 miles in 53 segments over three days to reach Pegula Ice Arena in honor of the games and to memorialize fallen officers across the state.

Competitions begin at 8 a.m. Friday at eight venues in individual skills, individual events, relay and team events, and the day ends with a family ice cream social and victory dance from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Final competitions and awards are scheduled to take place at each venue between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

For a full schedule of events, visit