HARRISONBURG, Va.—James Madison’s volleyball team continued its work with the Shenandoah Region of Virginia Special Olympics by volunteering at the Shenandoah Region Special Olympics Fall Sports Festival for the sixth year on Sept. 29. Approximately 250 Special Olympics athletes congregated at Wilson Memorial High School in Fishersville, Va.
The Dukes spent their time at the festival participating in the opening ceremonies, refereeing volleyball matches, handing out awards and cheering on volleyball participants. Redshirt junior Kelly Macguire commented on the day by saying, “We were able to watch the Special Olympics players truly enjoy and compete, to their best ability, in a sport that we play every day. It's opportunities like this, during the Special Olympics, that you really feel an appreciation for being a part of JMU and JMU Athletics and having the ability to give back to your community.”
Based on individual skill level, the athletes were broken into different events, including traditional volleyball, modified volleyball or volleyball skills. It took about 300 volunteers to run the festival.
The Virginia Special Olympics have a strong relationship with James Madison’s athletics. Daniel Leake, the Shenandoah Region Director for Virginia Special Olympics, says, “JMU Volleyball has been a big part of our tournament for more than five years. They have a great relationship with the Special Olympics athletes. Many of the JMU players have been with us for a number of years and know a lot of our players, so it’s nice seeing them have a conversation with the Special Olympics athletes. JMU is a great partner with us in a number of events, and we’re always happy when JMU helps at our events. They come in large numbers, are enthusiastic, and give our athletes a great deal of respect. JMU is awesome to work with.”