PLUNGE GUIDE: A Message From Special Olympics Maryland

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Dear plungers, volunteers, sponsors, donors and friends,

Welcome to the 23nd annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Maryland! Thanks to your efforts in helping us reach our goal of $2.5 million, we are able to provide year-round sport opportunities for more than 7,782 individuals with intellectual disabilities in Maryland. You are helping us transform the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families, and communities every day through meaningful sport experiences, health promotion, and leadership programs, while also promoting awareness and education. As we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics worldwide, you can take pride in being part of a global movement that includes more than 5 million athletes from 174 countries.

We want to thank the Maryland State Police and the entire law enforcement community across Maryland for their tireless efforts in organizing this event and for their year-round support of our athletes. In addition to the Plunge, law enforcement officers and administrators are fixtures at our state competitions and games, where you will always see them presenting awards to our athletes.

We are grateful for the significant financial investment and extensive volunteer support provided by our founding partner, Aerotek, which impacts tens of thousands of lives each year. We extend our thanks to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Sandy Point State Park for their generosity in hosting this exceptional event. We want to thank our media partners WBALTV 11, 98Rock and WBAL 1090AM/101.5FM for their extensive efforts to promote the Plunge and our mission. They are helping build interactive, inclusive communities of dignity and respect. Additionally, we thank our many loyal partners who are featured in this event program and make the Plunge possible, which makes our year-round programming possible.

Special Olympics Maryland is not just a one-time event. In 2018, 7,782 athletes trained and competed in 27 different sports throughout the year. We depend on a core group of leadership volunteers and coaches to provide local training and competition. We engage more than 6,300 volunteers to run a full range of competitions, including 22 state-level multi-sport games and single sport championships. We work closely with 21 school districts to deliver Interscholastic Unified Sports. We are working hard to expand our Unified Sports programs to reach students of all ages from early childhood to elementary and middle school. We still have considerable work to do. There are 115,000 people in the state with intellectual disabilities who are eligible for our program. So we need to reach more athletes. Our goal is to reach 20,000 athletes by 2025. With your continued support as plungers, donors, friends and volunteers, we will attain that goal.

We take pride in and are inspired by the engagement and leadership demonstrated by our athletes and families. Through sport, we are creating a world where opportunity is not limited by disability.

Thank you for plunging for our athletes and for making Maryland better for everyone.

James C. Schmutz
President and CEO
Special Olympics Maryland 

Greg Resutek
Chair, Board of Directors
Special Olympics Maryland

Elana Camacho
Board Member and SOMD Athlete
Special Olympics Maryland

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