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Special Olympics 2012 State Summer Games



Special Olympics 2012 State Summer Games

May 18-20,2012

Emory University, Atlanta

 “Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for nearly 3.5 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts.” Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

“Special Olympics Georgia serves more than 24,470 athletes with intellectual disabilities in over 180 programs in 120 counties. More than 2,600 Special Olympics athletes, Unified Partners, and coaches from around the state will descend on Emory University to compete in Aquatics, Athletics, Soccer, Badminton, Volleyball, Tennis, Gymnastics, and Table Tennis with over 600 coaches to guide them in competition.” Other activities will include Opening ceremonies, a festival loaded with games and crafts, and the Victory Dance on Saturday night.

My son, Merritt, is competing for the first time this year (Track & Field), and will be one of many athletes representing Cherokee County at the Special Olympics Summer Games. I can’t wait to see my little man up on the podium!


The mission of Cherokee County Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

Cherokee County’s delegation will consist of over 90 athletes, unified partners, and volunteers. We will compete in Aquatics, Athletics, Soccer, Volleyball and Tennis.

We will also compete in Unified Competitions. Unified Sports is a program that combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (known as unified partners) on sports teams for training and competition. We currently have Unified Sports teams competing in Aquatics, Soccer, Volleyball and Tennis during the Summer Games at Emory.

All of our athletes must participate in an 8 week training program prior to competition at the games to ensure athletes have acquired the appropriate skills and fitness levels.

Cherokee County Special Olympics is a 100% volunteer organization.

Volunteers must complete a training certification prior to becoming a coach.

There is no cost to join Special Olympics, nor is there a cost to train or compete. Special Olympics raises funds through private donations, fundraisers, and special events.

Dave Martinez, M.A., CAPE
Special Olympics Co-coordinator

For more information please visit –


Cherokee County has a dedicated team of volunteers. Kim Watt began volunteering with Special Olympics three years ago with bowling, but there was need for Track & Field.  She recruited Jonas Motiejunas to coach, as he is a former Georgia Tech Track & Field National Champion and attended the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.  The next year his brother, Tomas, who is also a former National Champion track star, began coaching.  The two of them have doubled the amount of athletes they coach each year and love it.  Jonas says “I enjoy coaching for Special Olympics because I love to work with the athletes.  It’s great to see them work so hard in practice then watch them compete at the state games.  Track has always been such a huge part of my life and I’m glad to give back.”


Volunteer for the Summer Games, it’s easy!

Want to be a someone’s hero? Become a volunteer! Read all about the volunteer experience and its benefits…

It sounds fun and can’t wait to get started, right? Even if you’re unable to help staff the event, we need a cheering section!

We need you to fill the stands with your enthusiasm, because it’s truly not as special without the fans. Contact Leslie Anderson at if you are interested in volunteering.


BE A FAN!  Join us for the 2012 Special Olympics State Summer Games, May 18 – May 20, 2012 at Emory University, Atlanta. Come out to cheer on these athletes, who possess amazing heart, talent, and determination.


Summer Games Schedule


Opening Ceremonies – Friday, May 18th – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. –  Emory University’s McDonough Field

Friday, May 18th – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m – Aquatics, Athletics and Tennis competitions begin.

Saturday, May 19th – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Competitions continue with Aquatics, Athletics, Flag Football, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Soccer, Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball.

Saturday, May 19th – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Olympic Town – Emory University’s McDonough Field. Crafts, Games, booths and refreshments will be provided to all attendees at Olympic Town.

Saturday, May 19th – The Healthy Athlete program is conducted. All Special Olympic Athletes attending the event have the option to go through health screenings for their eyes, feet and teeth.

Saturday, May 19th -7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. -Athlete Victory Dance – Athletes come together to celebrate in the Woodruff PE Center Gymnasium.

Sunday, May 20th – 7 a.m. to 1 p.m -Athletics, Aquatics, Badminton and Tennis  Events competition continues and concludes.


All competitions take place on Emory University’s campus. The venues on campus are the Woodruff PE Center, Candler Field, Cox Banquet Hall and McDonough Field.


For more details and directions visit –


(as seen in the May TBB mini mag)



Rain and Fire in Sedona



Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Family Fun

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Legends!



Behold the living legends! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings the unbelievable to Children Of All Ages in an all-new show – – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS. Experience unimaginable family fun as amazing performers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and the mysterious visions that have only existed in your imagination and now materialize before your eyes: the Unicorn, Pegasus and a Woolly the Mammoth! Join us for an unforgettable family night of legendary proportions at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS!

Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-show allows circus fans to learn juggling and balancing skills, meet the performers of The Greatest Show On Earth, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind Pachyderm Painting.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS SM, playing Amway Center January 14-18, 2016. Save $4 off tickets using promo code 4MOM. Live tweet to us while you are there! @RinglingBros #BestGiftEver  @BackstageBeat



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Family Fun

NEW Children’s Museum of Atlanta Re-opens December 12!



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Families will soon experience more STEAM-style activities and exhibits when visiting the newly renovated Children’s Museum of Atlanta, which re-opens to the public on Saturday, December 12. This iconic downtown attraction, which has been busy renovating since August of this year, now features targeted science, technology, engineering, arts and math education programming woven through almost every aspect of the enhanced space. Whether children build and shoot their own rocket launcher in the new “Gateway to the World” exhibit or design their dream home in the enhanced “Tools for Solutions” exhibit, the increased focus on STEAM learning enables the Museum to further prepare young children to be problem solvers and lifelong learners.

We got a sneak preview this week and I can honestly say it was the most fun my kids have had in a long time! They amount of things there are to do is mind boggling!

One of our favorite areas was Tools for Solutions – This enhanced, multi-layered zone reaches all ages and explores the science of building through four learning environments: the giant ball machine, Built-It Lab, Construction House and City Blocks. Using six simple machines, visitors can move balls through the Museum’s beloved giant ball machine. Children can also learn how to use real tools and materials in the new Build-It Lab, which will feature building workshops and more. This lab will also house a “Maker Space” to empower young children to harness their own ideas to build inventions and artistic creations. The Construction House, designed to showcase what is “behind the walls,” features a solar panel and incorporates activities on how to attach make-believe wires, connect pipes and insulate walls. City Blocks enables children to create skyscrapers and design the city of the future. Through this revitalized exhibit space, children can hone early and more complex math skills, as they learn the importance of processes and sequencing. They also utilize creativity, social emotional and gross and fine motor skills, while discovering that even the most intricate problems can be solved step-by-step with a solid strategy and through the use of tools.

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