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Special Olympics

  • A Northfield Special Olympics athlete participates in the torch relay at the Area 10 track and field meet in 2008.

  • The Northfield Special Olympics team at the Area 10 track and field meet.

  • A Northfield athlete competes at the Area 10 meet at Carleton College with Carleton students serving as officials.

  • Special Olympics basketball offers opportunities for participants of all abilities. Here, Northfield athlete and Burton Dining Hall employee Mark Hart participates in the individual skill scompetition.

  • Northfield basketball players sit on the bench with coach Nick Smith, Carleton class of 2009.

  • Basketball competition at the 2009 Area 10 tournament in Owatonna, MN.

  • Special Olympics athletes recieve awards at the 2009 Minnesota state track and field meet. At the top of the podium is Burton Dining Hall employee Margaret Frandsen.

  • Special Olympics coach Nick Smith, Carleton class of 2009, with two Northfield Special Olympics athletes.

  • Special Olympics bowling at Jesse James Lanes

  • Special Olympics athletes

  • Special Olympics Track Meet

  • Program Directors Lucia Webb & Claire Wilson are excited for new volunteers at the activities fair!

Program Directors:

Tianen Chen '17 (chent2)

Connor Jackson '15 (jacksonc)

Lucia Webb '16 (webbl)

Volunteer in the Northfield community
Periodic Commitment


Special Olympics offers many volunteer opportunities throughout the year, ranging from one-time events to weekly commitments.  Volunteers help with the Northfield Special Olympics team practices in bowling, swimming, basketball, and track & field.  They can also work at competitions in these sports, helping with scoring, officiating, organization, and other things.  Volunteers who want a higher level of involvement can become certified coaches.



Special Olympics bowling takes place from September through November.  The Northfield team practices on Sundays at 3:15 p.m. at Jesse James Lanes.  The Area 10 tournament is in October, and the state tournament is the second weekend in November.  Volunteers help keep athletes organized at practices, work as scorers at tournaments, and can pair up with one of the Special Olympics athletes for team competition in Unified Bowling.


The basketball season is January through April.  Practices are usually held on weekday nights.  Volunteers work with the athletes in 3-on-3 half court games and individual skills competition and can slso work at the area and state tournaments in March and April, respectively.  College students usually serve as head coaches for the Northfield team.

Track & Field

The track season goes from April through June.  The Northfield team practices two evenings a week at St. Olaf College or Northfield Middle School.  Volunteers are needed for measuring, timing, and organization at practices.  The Area 10 meet is the third Saturday in May at Carleton, and volunteers can work in a variety of capacities including officiating, event assistants, and awards ceremonies.  The Minnesota state meet is the third weekend in June.

Volunteer experiences

“(The Special Olympics athletes) enjoyed just being there and the thrill of the moment.  This is something that athletes in general can learn from.” -- Molly Christian, '07

“You cannot help but go home feeling absolutely marvelous after having seen so many smiles and faces full of joy.” -- Lori Halvorson, '07

Special Olympics Minnesota

Over 14,000 people volunteer with Special Olympics Minnesota per year.

Find out more about Special Olympics Minnesota at

Click the link at the top right of this page to see a Special Olympics Minnesota anniversary video.

Caught in the ACT, The Carletonian, Spring 2008

Carleton hosts successful day-long Special Olympics last Saturday

May 23, 2008

On Saturday, May 17, Carleton hosted the annual Area 10 Special Olympics track and field meet, the qualifying event for the State Games in June. Adults and children with intellectual and physical disabilities from nine Special Olympics delegations in southeastern Minnesota came together for the all-day event.

One of Carleton’s Special Olympics program directors, Shannon Carcelli ’08, said that “Special Olympics is an entire institution completely devoted to making people happy. As soon as the events start, people all around are excited and celebrating and appreciating what they have earned and what they have been given, and the joy is contagious.”

Athletes participated in a number of events throughout the day, including short and long distance running, long jump, discus, and softball throw. In preparation for the event, athletes practiced two times per week with volunteers from Carleton, St. Olaf, and the Northfield community. Volunteers from the Northfield Target store and the Cannon Valley Rotaract, as well as from other delegations, joined in to organize, cheer, and assist with recording scores. Ribbons went to all competitors for their hard work and achievements made that day.

This year, Area 10 participants hailed from the Faribault, Filmore County, Freeborn County/ARC Sports, Goodhue Public Schools, Mower County, Owatonna , Red Wing Public Schools, Rochester, and Northfield. This regional competition will be followed by a statewide competition in June, which will include all twelve areas of Special Olympics Minnesota.

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