McMinnville Special Games has found a new and refreshing way to include those with special needs in summer fun.
On Friday, Aug. 13, the organization will be holding its Special Pool Party. The event will take place at Gilley Pool between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. and there is no entry fee. All special needs men, women and children ages 5 and up are invited to come have a splashing good time alongside their caregivers. Free pizza and refreshments will be provided by McMinnville Special Games to all.
“This will be our eighth year of hosting the pool party. The idea came about because some parents were talking about the difficulties they faced when bringing their special-needs children to the pool during public hours,” said McMinnville Special Games president Holly McBride. “The pool staff was supportive, but not all in the public are informed about proper interaction with special-needs people and it can create an uncomfortable experience.”
“For a few hours, set aside from the public eye, they can be themselves and their caregivers can take a break because our volunteers will get in the water and help with them,” said McBride. “Everybody can relax and be themselves. Here, everybody is different so nobody is different.”
As boisterous and overcrowded environments can prove overstimulating for some special-needs individuals, organizers ask that a maximum of two visitors accompany each swimmer including their caregiver.
McMinnville Special Games is also accepting small bags of cat and dog food as donations during the event to benefit Helping Animals of Warren County, a local nonprofit that will also be on-hand to assist with the pool party. The food donation is not required for entry but is greatly appreciated by both parties.