The Special Olympics Aroostook County Area Management Team is pleased to announce that the 42nd Annual Spring Games will be held on Friday, May 11, at the Johnson Athletic Complex at Presque Isle Middle School.

The Opening Ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. (registration is from 8:30 to 9 a.m.) and members of the community are invited and encouraged to attend the day’s activities.

More than 300 athletes from Houlton to Fort Kent are expected to participate in this year’s event, which will include competitions in the standing long jump, 100-meter run, softball throw and relay races.

Every year, scores of coaches, parents, aides, school officials and athletes gather at the athletic complex for a day of competition, achievement and valiant efforts.

“The Special Olympics motto says ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,’” event chair Steve Richard said. “Our local Special Olympians spend all year preparing for the Spring Games and really look forward to that chance to gather together and compete with the crowds cheering them on. We’d like to encourage the community to come and join us – it’ll be an experience you never forget.”

Richard said the area management team wouldn’t be able to pull off the Spring Games each year without the help of a host of local volunteers and sponsors. More than 150 volunteers will participate in the day’s events, including local National Honor Society students, the Maine State Police and other law enforcement officials, Kiwanians, and employees from long-time supporters MMG Insurance and WAGM-TV.

Winners at the Aroostook Spring Games are eligible to compete at the Special Olympics Maine Summer Games, which will be held June 8 to 10 at the University of Maine in Orono. Top finishers there go on to compete at the national Special Olympics.

The mission of Special Olympics Maine and Special Olympics Aroostook County 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 sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

For more information about the Spring Games in Presque Isle or to become a volunteer for the Special Olympics Aroostook County Area Management Team, please contact Michele Blackstone at micheleblackstone@yahoo.com.