To witness Special Olympics first hand is a real treat. Being greeted by students I know and love was especially rewarding as they were so happy to see me and I shared their enthusiasm.

Held at Harrison Stadium in Oroville, the students arrived by bus and upon entering the gates leading into this impressive venue, were amongst hundreds of other kids with the only thing setting them apart was the color of their t-shirts.

The sound of the Olympic Fanfare and Theme song playing over the loudspeaker as the students walked the track in their groups with a make-shift torch was so uplifting and added to the excitement for the kids.

Event co-coordinator Cami Anderson said, "It's the best day ever! Nothing but positive energy in Harrison Stadium all day long!"

This annual event was sponsored by the Butte County Adapted Physical Education Specialists in coordination with Special Olympics Butte County and Kiwanis of Oroville and lasted three hours.

Approximately 550 students with special needs, preschool to age 22 from Butte and Nevada Counties participated in the track and field meet.

One student claimed she likes the running because she gets to race people and meet new friends.

This track meet is an annual collaborative event which doubles as a service learning opportunity for students attending local middle schools, high schools, Butte College and Chico State to work with students with disabilities in an athletic and active environment. 

Trained volunteers and coaches, peer buddies from Butte County Schools, community volunteers and athlete families and friends make this event possible.

Butte County Office of Education Superintendent Tim Taylor  said, "This event is like state championships for participants and one of the most rewarding events to volunteer for."