18 Feb Be Great From Across the State!
Date: February 5, 2021
From: Vickie Donisthorpe, COO, Jamie Wood, VP Sports, Mandy Patriarche, VP Outreach
RE: Covid-19 Update
FYI: Return to Activities
Happy New Year everyone! As the new year launches, the buzz at the state office is all about the 2021 State Summer Games. With the games approximately 100 days away, the concerns about COVID-19 still present, the vaccination roll out in an early stage, and teams needing to formulate a spring/summer practice plan, it became apparent that a decision was needed about how to go forward.
After lengthy discussions with the field, the volunteer Games Management Team in Bozeman, and the staff, SOMT has decided that it is not in the best interest of the athletes, unified partners, volunteers, sponsors, and staff to hold full and open games in 2021, as we have in past years. While it is hard to believe that the pandemic continues to impact programming in 2021, SOMT believes we have the best plan of the pandemic yet!
SOMT and the Bozeman volunteer Games Management Team will be taking the Summer Games statewide! Athletes and unified partners will have the opportunity to practice and compete, “in-person”, with teammates in their home communities, all while being divisioned with teams from across the state. Teams will be following COVID-19 protocols put in place by SOI, SOMT, and their local city/county health departments to remain safe.
SOMT will offer 5 outdoor sports with limited events: athletics (track and field), bocce skills, cycling, golf course play and skills, and soccer skills. Unified options will be available in all 5 sports offered.
Athletes and unified partners who are unable, or uncomfortable, returning to practice, will be given compete from home options. All participants, whether attending practice or competing from home, will practice and compete to earn medals and ribbons like they would at any traditional games.
SOMT is planning to keep several of the State Summer Games traditions alive! Goodie bags and souvenir programs will be sent to all athletes and unified partners registered for the games. SOMT is also exploring options for the Torch Run, Final Leg, Opening Ceremony, Closing Ceremony, the Dance, as well as Live Streaming from team practices on SOMT TV!
While the games will not be held in Bozeman as usual, it will remain the host community. Expect to see a Bozeman flair to these games as the volunteers of the Games Management Team continue to plan and execute the games, along with the SOMT staff.
Discussions are also underway with Games Management Team members, and each area, regarding the possibility of small “in-person” award ceremonies for teams across the state that would include officers from Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Teams, volunteers, and families will also see involvement from the 2021 State Summer Games premier sponsors: First Interstate Bank, Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply, and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation as well as our premier media sponsor, Montana Television Network.
By mid-February there will be a public announcement about the new format of the State Summer Games, followed by registration information going to teams by the end of the month. Teams will have 9 weeks to practice before submitting final scores, followed by a week of celebration, May 11 – 15, 2021.
Prior to the public announcement, SOMT will once again host online trainings for Local Program Coordinators on February 8 at 5:30 PM and February 11 at 12:00 PM.
SOMT staff is working closely with Area Management Teams to determine options for offering safe and viable Area competitions that can follow Special Olympics International’s COVID-19 protocols. Communication about area competitions that may be offered this spring will come from your Area Director or Competition Coordinator.
SOMT is thrilled to be taking the 2021 Summer Games statewide and we invite you to be a part of this amazing event!
Be Great From Across The State!