Special Olympics Ventura County - About Us
Special Olympics Ventura County began over twenty years ago as an adaptive recreation program offered through the City of Ventura.
The program eventually outgrew what the City of Ventura could provide and, in 2002, Special Olympics Ventura County officially became its own entity. Today, Special Olympics Ventura County is a grassroots organization whose funding comes from and remains in Ventura County. Donations are used to support over 700 Ventura County athletes, ages 8 and up, in 10 different year-round sports programs (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter) at over 20 different training sites, county-wide. All programs are provided at no cost.
Special Olympics Ventura County has two full-time staff members who are assisted by hundreds of volunteers who give generously of their time and talents in providing free-of-charge programs to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
All of our athletes have some degree of intellectual disability, and many have physical challenges as well. For most, Special Olympics is the only outlet where both athletes and their families can interact with others who share similar life experiences.
A 1996 Yale University study found that Special Olympic athletes benefit from:
• Improved physical fitness and sports skills
• Enhanced self-confidence and social competency
• Greater readiness for employment
• Better preparation for independent living
• Increased ability to make personal decisions, and
• Improved friendships and family relationships.
The length of time an athlete was involved with Special Olympics was the most powerful predictor of social competence. By instilling lifelong habits of physical fitness and influencing each athlete’s willingness to accept new challenges, Special Olympics provides individuals with intellectual disabilities with “Training for Life.”
Special Olympics Ventura County remains committed to providing high quality sports training and competition opportunities for its athletes. But with the general downturn in the economy, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the numbers of athletes able to attend “away” tournaments (tournaments hosted by other regions) and the Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games Championship held in Long Beach.
The largest impact on Special Olympics Ventura County's budget has been in transportation, lodging, and meals. There are many opportunities for the community to help subsidize these expenses.
We offer sponsorship opportunities (large and small) to individuals and businesses and welcome discussing these mutually rewarding opportunities.