In the beautiful and momentous settings of the ancient ruins of Sibarai in Calabria, Special Olympics Italy recently celebrated the Opening Ceremony of the 10th anniversary of the Special Olympics Italy National Family Campus.
The almost three hundred participants of this year’s Family Campus were made up of athletes, family members, volunteers and coaches. The event has grown to an international affair with 80 participants from seven European programs participating in this year’s event all enjoying the unique opportunity to feel part of an international family and share experiences and friendships.
While the many athletes participated and competed in a range of sports, family members had the opportunity to talk to other family members about their experiences and challenges they face on a day to day basis. Special guests from the international Special Olympics community came to lead plenary sessions and workshops. The groups worked together to reach solutions and provide support. They found ways to grow Special Olympics and spread our message of respect, acceptance and inclusion for all people with intellectual disabilities.
The first Family Campus took place ten years ago at the same venue as today: the Minerva Golf Club Resort in Sibari is made available free of charge thanks to the kind patronage of the Sauve Family. 10 years later, the venue has become a kind of “institutional” base for the Family Campus thanks to the continued support of the Sauve Family.
Mrs De Socio from the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Mrs Casolaro from the Museo of Sibaritide both attended the Opening Ceremony on behalf of the Italian Government. According to Mrs De Socio “It is wonderful to think that after 2000 years we are still celebrating ceremonies of symbolic and cultural relevance as was celebrated in ancient times.”
Special thanks goes to the President of the Calabria region, Mrs Stasi, as well as Mr Pasquale Anastasi and Mr Carlo Romeo, director responsible for the Rai Social Secretariat who gave their patronage to the event as well as the many representatives from each sector of society in Italy. Sincere thanks to all the international participants, family members and volunteers who made the event such a success and unique experience.
Perhaps the warmth, unity and hope felt at the event was expressed best by one of the volunteers, Elisena who said: “From tomorrow, I will be counting the day until the next Family Campus.”
For photos and videos from event visit: www.specialolympics.it