Special Olympics Iowa

Gain experience this Winter intercession!

Click here to hear from students and see the recap video from the Winter 2019/2020 course. 

Students enrolled in this course will prepare online for an on-site engagement working directly with participants and organization leaders from Special Olympics Iowa.

In collaboration with the University of Iowa Therapeutic Recreation program and the Disabilities Studies Certificate, students in Sport and Recreation Management will be assisting with a variety of Special Olympics Winter Games competitions in Dubuque, IA. 

Develop and practice your event management, coaching, and communication skills while working within a diverse and engaging community of participants.

Earn three semester hours of credit toward your sport and recreation management field experience requirement or build out your resume with this unique experiential learning opportunity! 

Students in ALL MAJORS and ALL YEARS are encouraged to apply! Send your resume and cover letter (details below) to Anna Jensen, anna-jensen@uiowa.edu. Deadline for priority consideration is October 31, 2022. Early applications are strongly encouraged! 

Students will have hands-on event management experience and gain professional skills and techniques specific to inclusive and therapeutic recreation. 

Other details: 

  • $125 course fee includes travel to and from Dubuque, housing and most meals during the on-site event.
  • Students will work in teams at one of these events: Snowshoe, Downhill Ski, Cross Country Ski.
  • Students will travel to/from the event together. 
  • Network with students in other areas of recreation.
  • Opportunity to earn Level 1 Special Olympics Coaching Certification.
  • This is a hybrid online/on-site course. Time commitments are as follows for both options: 
    • Online course content will begin December 19, 2022 and run through January 6 , 2023. 
    • Monday & Wednesday online meetings 9a-10:15a. No class meetings on university holidays. 
    • On-site (Dubuque) commitments will be from January 8-11, 2022. 
    • Final presentations via synchronous zoom meeting the morning of January 12, 2022, 9a-10:15a.

Students in these concentration areas will find this particularly interesting and be able to dive deeper into each of their respective interests: 

  • Event Management
  • Coaching and Sport Instruction
  • Communications / Public Relations
  • Sport and Diversity

What former students have said about their experience...

  • The Opening Ceremony was a great spectacle! I didn't expect the full on experience (with the saying of the oath, and the torch), but I'm so glad we got to see that, and seeing the athletes emotions when they saw us supporting them, was insanely heart warming! 
  • All of these additions contribute so positively to the overall experience of the Winter Games. Giving the volunteers, and the athletes chances to make connections and know one another better, just leads to an amazing, and authentic experience.
  • I liked interacting with all the athletes and really feeling like I was helping to make a big difference in their lives and watching them reach some of their biggest accomplishments!
  • The readings and preparation we did before the event came in handy. The in-class meetings were a huge help. Everything we did prior leading up to our time with the athletes was helpful and got me completely ready for the event which made me more comfortable and able to enjoy the experience even more. 
  • For students next year, it is important to go into this with an open mind and not take things too seriously. It  is important to know you will have more fun if you have an open mind and trust the process.  
  • I like how positive the environment was during the whole event. From the competitions themselves to all of the other events, everyone was just having a great time.
  • This was my first field experience through the University of Iowa. I got to learn more about event management and how things operate with all of the volunteers that we had in order to have the best experience possible. I lalso earned a lot from the athletes in ways I couldn't have imagined. They helped me not take my life for granted and view life in a positive, loving way and most importantly to not let anything define you. 

Interested in joining the 2022/2023 Winter Games Team? Send your updated resume and cover letter to Anna Jensen

Cover Letter should include details regarding your motivation for joining the course, any special skills or experiences you can offer the team and how you believe it will fit into your overall career preparation. We look forward to hearing from you!