The history of Special Olympics Minnesota.
Created by sominnesota on Jul 20, 2011
Last updated: 08/02/11 at 12:02 PM
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The Distinguished Service Awards banquet moves to September to become part of the combined Leadership and LETR Conference.
Special Olympics Minnesota hosts first Solar Plunge.
In spring 2011, the Youth Activation Committee members engage their schools in the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, asking their peers to end the use of the R-word.
Eight athletes and two coaches from Special Olympics Minnesota compete as part of Team USA at the 2011 World Summer Games in Athems, Greece.
Summer Sports Camp expands to include Young Athletes Day Camp.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run puts together the first Torch Run Tour, raising awareness for LETR by participating in popular road races throughout the year.
Presented by law enforcement, the 2011 Polar Bear Plunge season raises a record-breaking $2.2 million through 14 events.
Special Olympics Minnesota participates in the first-ever USA Scarf Project and receives more than 2,000 hand-knitted scarves for athletes.
The Young Athletes program expands to include 12 programs throughout the state.
The Healthy Athletes initiative completes nearly 2,300 free health screenings.
New Polar Bear Plunge website launces: www.plungemn.org.
President Obamam signs Rosa's Law, eliminating the word "mental retardation" from federal statutes. Minnesota athletes Danielle Liebl and Roberta Blomster are invited to visit the White House for a Rosa's Law reception.
Special Olympics Programs around the world celebrate the first-ever Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day.
Youth Activation Committee composed of teens with and without intellectual disabilities is formed in Minnesota.
Skydiver Jarrod McKinney takes to the skies to support Special Olympics Minnesota through his Falling for a Cause fundraiser.
Ninety-four athletes compete as Team Minnesota in the USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb. Altogether, the athletes bring home 37 gold, 34 silver and 20 bronze medals.
More than $1.4 million is raised by a record-breaking 6,800 participants at 13 Polar Bear Plunges.
Summer Sports Camp moves to St. Olaf college in Northfield, Minn.
The Special Olympics Minnesota website is flooded with visits, and for the first time surpasses 900,000 unique visits during the year. The total public relations value of television coverage surpases $1 million. Special Olympics Minnesota launches a social media presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and hires its first webmaster.
Nearly 5,900 competitive experiences occur at state-level competitions, the highest recorded in the organization's history. Nearly 10,000 competitive experiences are recorded at area-level competitions. Six Regional Games host competition for more than 1,400 athletes. More than 2,500 Healthy Athletes screenings are provided in eight disciplines at area, regional and state competitions. Special Olympics calculates that its athletes collectively enjoyed 88,703 Special Olympics "experiences." After again holding three training courses in 2009, the total number of athletes who have participated in ALPs training courses reaches 295. Twelve Polar Bear Plunges, hosting 4,894 Plungers, raise just shy of $1 million for Special Olympics Minnesota. Total Funds raised from the Northland 300 to benefit Special Olympics Minnesota surpass $3 million. After observing the poor performance of other gala fundraisers in light of the unprecedented economic environment, the Gold Medal Gala (formerly the Draft Party) is retired as an annual fundraiser for the organization. However, the event's silent auction continues online. The Minnesota Torch Run again receives the Diamond Award and advances to the eighth largest Torch Run program in the world at the 2009 International LETR Conference.
The first Young Athletes program is held at the White Bear Area YMCA.
At the 2008 International Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference, the Minnesota Torch Run is presented with the Diamond award for Torch Run programs raising more than $1 million annually, and is named the 10th largest Torch Run program in the world.
Special Olympics Minnesota celebrates its 35th anniversary. More than 1,400 athletes participate in Regional Games for athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling and softball. ALPs offers the Goverance and Leadershp 101 and Athletes as Coaches training courses. Eleven Polar Bear Plunges are held. More than 3,000 people "take the Plunge" and raise $700,000.
Special Olympics Minnesota reorganizes the calendar of state competitions, reducing the number of games held from eight to five and making way in the annual schedule for additional Regional Games opportunities. Three Regional Games are held in the sports of basketball, bowling and golf. More than 1,000 athletes participate between the three new competitions.
Nine Polar Bear Plunges are held, raising $433,000 from more than 2,000 participants.
The first Summer Sports Camp is held at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. Nearly 100 athletes participate in the four-day camp. ALPs training courses offered include Goverance and Leadership 101, Athletes as Coaches and a new course, Challenges through Choice. The two-day course focuses on creatively solving problems, learning from successes and failures, risk taking, trusting others and engaging in both mental and physical activities.
More than 5,000 competitive experiences occur at the state-level competitions. ALPs again offers three training courses to interested athletes: Global Messengers, Athletes as coaches and, for the first time, Athletes as Volunteers. The Draft Party is rechristened the Gold Medal Gala and is moved to the historic Depot in downtown Minneapolis. The redesigned event raises more than $240,000.
The total number of annual Polar Bear Plunges grows to six as more than 1,500 participants raise $300,000 for Special Olympics Minnesota.
The first Regional Games are held in Mankato, Minn. Fifty-nine athletes participate in the golf tournament.
Special Olympics Minnesota records more than 5,000 competitive experiences at state-level competitions. Special Olympics Minnesota launches its third mulit-year strategic plan, focusing on athlete recruitment and increasing the breadth of athlete involvement with the program. A new mission statment, vision and values for the organization are created during the development of the plan and a new level of competetive experience – Regional Games – is among the strategies proposed. A fourth Polar Bear Plunge in Willmar/Spicer is added.
More than 1,800 Healthy Athletes screenings in six disciplines are provided to athletes at state comopetitions.
Minnesota hosts the 2005 International Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference, which draws more than 700 law enforcement personnel from around the world and raises the bar for athlete involvement at the annual event. Fitting with the theme "Do You Believe in Miracles," a Special Olympics Minnesota athlete wins the 5K race at the event—the first athlete to ever take this honor—and more than 60 Minnesota athletes participate in the conference itself as speakers, panelists and volunteers.
Dave Dorn is hired as President/CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota. The state office moves from the Grain Exchange Building to the 100 Washington Square building in downtown Minneapolis, doubling the space and capacity of the office for the now 24-member staff.
ALPs programming expands to two courses, offering both Global Messenger and Athletes as Coaches training courses.
Special Olympics Minnesota celebrates its 30th anniversary. ALPs offers the Goverance and Leadership 101 course. Total funds raised from the Northland 300 surpass $2 million.
The fifth annual Polar Bear Plunge is held in White Bear Lake, and Plunges in Duluth and Rochester are added.
From May 1-5, five athletes and five mentors from Minnesota attend the Athletes Leadership Programs (ALPs) Camp in Atlanta, Ga. hosted by Special Olympics, Inc. and funded by a grant from the Picower Foundation. The camp offers trainings in multiple ALPs courses, including Volunteer Readiness, Graduate Global Messenger training, Athlete Leadership 101, Goverance, Athletes as Coaches and Input Councils. The attendees return to Minnesota and use their experience to launch ALPs in Minnesota. A Global Messenger training is the first session held with athletes.
Special Olympics Minnesota records nearly 4,200 competitive experiences at state-level competitions.
Draft Party 2001 is cancelled due to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the subsequent military actions in the Middle East. Donors for the event decline to accept a return of their contributions, and the non-event raises more than $115,000.
Special Olympics Minnesota launches the Healthy Athletes initiative and provides 285 Opening Eyes screenings to athletes at Summer Games.
Special Olympics Minnesota launches the first phase of a coaches certification program, which later serves as a model for all Special Olympics programs worldwide.
Special Olympics Minnesota hosts its second Athletes Congress, with 18 delegates debating and voting on six issues.
The organization officially changes its name from Minnesota Special Olympics to Special Olympics Minnesota.
The first Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Minnesota is held. One hundred participants "take the plunge" into Como lake in St. Paul and raise more than $20,000.
Special Olympics Minnesota celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Special Olympics Minnesota launches the first "Draft Party" fundraising gala, raising $100,000. Held at Planet Hollywood in the Mall of America, the event features a silent auction with sports memorabilia and guest appearances by athletes from Minnesota's sports teams.
For the first time, the Northland 300 Charity Snowmobile Ride raises more than $200,000 and surpasses more than $1 million in total funds during its 10th anniversary ride.
Special Olympics Minnesota host its first Athletes Congress, an opportunity for athletes to meet and discuss issues important to them and the organization. Twenty-four athletes participate and debate four issues, the results of which were delivered to the board of directors.
Special Olympics Minnesota begins implementation of its second strategic plan, focused on growth in all aspects of the organization and a broadening of methods to involve athletes.
The state office moves from the Lutheran Brotherhood Building to the Grain Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis, doubling the size and capacity of the office for the now 13-member staff.