FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - The Special Olympics are back in Western Washington, but organizers say they are in need of hundreds of volunteers.
This weekend is both the northwest (King County to Canada Border) and southwest (Oregon Border to Pierce County) regional qualifying events.
On Saturday, athletes from the southwest region will compete in track and field events, as well as a soccer tournament at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
On Sunday, athletes from the northwest region will compete in events at the Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville.
However, at least 150 volunteers are still needed for both Saturday and Sunday.
Organizers think the reason turn out for volunteers is so low this year is due to the pandemic preventing in-person events for the last couple of seasons.
Dave Remmem has coached his daughter’s soccer team for the last nine years. He says it is worth the effort.
"To see the joy in the athletes, I think, is heartwarming, and it definitely raises your spirits. And I think more people need to be involved in seeing that," said Remmem.
Remmem’s daughter, Amanda Sloan, says her nickname on the soccer field is "Animal".
She says getting involved in the Special Olympics has helped her connect to other people in her community.
"When I first started doing Special Olympics, I didn’t know anyone. But then I started, I started making new friends with them," she said.
No prior experience with either soccer or track and field is required for anyone wanting to get involved this weekend, and volunteers will be trained onsite.
The minimum age for volunteering is 11 years old.
Anyone interested in volunteering can click here and preregister.