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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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New program aims for more Special Olympics involvement

Designed by students

Students design groundbreaking Special Olympics feeder program.

By Tanner Kent, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 5/18/2011]

A new youth athletic program in Mankato might be grooming this area’s next gold medalist.

As part of a nationwide program to get more young children involved in the Special Olympics, Mankato is one of about 10 locations around the state that participated in the first installment of the Young Athletes program in April (eight weeks, for one hour per week on Wednesdays).

The Mankato program is coordinated by graduate and undergraduate students in Minnesota State Mankato's adapted physical education program. The next eight-week program begins in September, but the registration window is already open (

“Our goal is to have lots of little ones that grow to be athletes in the Special Olympics,” said Sherry Folsom-Meek, Minnesota State Mankato instructor of adapted physical education and a longtime supporter and volunteer for the annual competition for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.

“Rarely do you see kids in the ages of 8 to 18 competing.” Organizers want that to change.

The Young Athletes program is meant to serve as a feeder program of sorts, introducing children with disabilities to the world of athletics while building motor skills.

Minnesota State Mankato graduate students design and organize the activities; undergraduate students deliver the lessons.

For the complete Free Press story, see Wednesday's print edition, or go to

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