Opening Ceremonies and Sunday Sessions – North Carolina

Joseph: Opening Ceremonies was the most awesome and coolest thing I’ve ever been to! Never in my life have I smiled soo big truly enjoying myself and just being Joseph for once. That night included “That you don’t judge a person by what they look like but what really matter is what’s on the inside”. A million tongues couldn’t explain the rush that came onto me when we first stepped off the bus to line up for the march in. The feeling I had was just soo unexplainable.

Walking on that stage and down that center run I was somebody. Close your eyes and picture that you’re a singer and you just won the award for best voice for young people. Just picture as your walking up the stage people are cheering for you, celebrating your victory. That’s the rush and feeling I got when I went to Opening Ceremonies. The night ended with a performance by Stevie Wonder. The entire night was amazing.  🙂

Sarah: Yesterday went fantastic, as expected! The sessions were very good, and I am definitely enjoying the different styles and approaches to each one. Last night at Opening Ceremonies was absolutely AMAZING! The energy in the stadium was so moving and was just like WOW! I really enjoyed all the teams marching in and seeing all of the different outfits they were wearing were so cool! It showed me that we all have our different cultures, beliefs, and thoughts; but everyone in that stadium sure had a love for Special Olympics. Stevie Wonder was fantabulous, I enjoyed everyone dancing and singing!

I especially enjoyed the skit from the Odyssey.  The Odyssey is very connected to Special Olympics in the fact they are both journeys were you encounter many people, adventure, obstacles; but in the end you always conquer and defeat and come out a champion on many aspects of life!  The Global Messengers were fantastic, and it was great to see their excitement when telling their greatest victory and it gave me new inspirations for future Global Messenger speeches with Joseph.

One of another great part was when Stevie Wonder was talking about ALL the different supporters of Special Olympics and how they are “Ima Mesa!”, because of the dream of a very special lady, Eunice Shriver, there are opportunities for all and no one is better than another. This was very inspiring and encourages me to be even more involved. I am so excited to be able to come back and share all of the new ideas with the North Carolina Youth Activation Council.

So, to start off Sunday we went to the Dookas School and that is where we had our sessions. Today we led our session on Empowering Change: Speaking Up Against the R-word, Changing Attitudes for Respect. We did an activity giving everyone scenarios and they had to decide how comfortable they were in handling that situation.  We included some basic questions like “How comfortable are you dancing in front of people” and “How comfortable are you talking to a teacher if they use the R-Word”.  I think it went pretty well since we changed it last minute because we found out the group ahead of us held the same information in their presentation.

After that session was over everyone was playing either basketball or soccer and was awesome to actually see the joy of Unified play, because you see a different perspective from the outside looking in. I enjoyed the Unified Volleyball, because that was my first experience in it. It was so good to see everyone cheering each other on even for mistakes. It’s a big switch from the average high school play and really sets an example for those players. I look forward for what is in store the rest of the week!

A’Lisa: It’s been an awesome experience so far and the personal highlight for me (so far) was the Opening Ceremonies. Absolutely exhilarating and humbling at the same time. It made me realize yet again how blessed I am to be connected to SO and to be able to work with and for the athletes of SONC. I think I cried the entire walk into the stadium. I was truly overwhelmed with emotions.

The performances were all amazing and each tied to Special Olympics in so many ways. From “The Calling” talking about the start of civilization – related both to Greek culture, but also the start of the Special Olympics movement and the Dignity Revolution. To “The Odyssey” talking about the challenges that everyone – athletes, families, and the Special Olympics movement – have been pushing through for years. Even the performance by Stevie Wonder was amazing and so related to celebrating the gifts, accomplishments, and joy of everyone in the stadium. Truly amazing!

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