October 2015

Greetings Supporter,

This twelve month cycle dating back to our Summer Games at Towson marks two important milestones in the history of Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD). Those Games marked the 45th anniversary of SOMD and on January 30, 2016 we will proudly celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park. So it’s #PlungePrep season and you will see a lot from us about that in the coming months including in this issue of Impact. We are working hard to reach a significant milestone of having 7,169 plungers or more plunge into the Chesapeake Bay on January 30th. That will be one plunger for every current athlete participating in our year-round sports programs. We have come to know that the Plunge is more fun when you do it with family and friends so  a common theme in our messaging this year is “join a team form a team” which is only fitting because it takes a huge team effort to deliver this program.

With our State Golf championships on October 31 and Soccer Championship on November 1 our Fall Sports season comes to a close, so it’s fitting to share some examples of the exceptional efforts of our extended team in holding competitions and raising funds and awareness over the last month.

The weekend of October 3rd we had to postpone state championships in kayaking and golf because of weather. Under the leadership of former USA Olympic Kayak Team (1972) member and our lead kayak volunteer, Jack Brosius, Washington College and their student community proved to be a great team player as the provided a world class experience at the re-scheduled Kayaking championship on the 10th for our 100+ competitors.  We also had 2 events already scheduled for October 10th; the first annual Sandy Point State Paddlefest and the 2nd annual Rockfish Open to benefit SOMD.  

We appreciate the ongoing support of Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco, who on Monday morning October 12th hosted our athletes and the Ravens’ Under Armour Performance center for the video taping of a Plunge promotional message. Joe brought along two of his boys making it a truly interactive inclusive unified event. Click here for photo.

The weekend of October 17th included special events like Cops on Rooftops led by police departments in Hyattsville (click here for photo) and Laurel. Law enforcement agencies across the state are exceptional teammates and supporters of our mission. SOMD athletes Christine Towne and Ben Stevick showed their leadership skills at the Maryland Million Day where we promoted the plunge (click here for photo) and  Ben was recognized in the winner’s circle for his equestrian achievements at the recent World Games (click here for photo).  While Ben and Christine were in Laurel, Famous Dave’s in Annapolis (click here for photo) and Frederick were host Unified Bocce and BBQ events at their restaurants. On Sunday the Charles County Sheriff’s Office hosted the Zombie Invasion (click here for photo) to benefit Special Olympics Maryland (click here for photo). And on that same Sunday the Severn School hosted a qualifying tournament for 19 soccer teams.

It’s also Dunk prep season so we’re getting ready up at Deep Creek (click here for photo) and we’re extending our Plunge efforts with three college plunges this year at the University of Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s and Towson University (click here for photo).

On October 24th we celebrated the 27 years of the Fall Sports Festival at Mount St. Mary’s which hosted 223 athletes competing in flag football, power lifting, soccer, tennis. Athlete emcees Adam Hays, Tammy Holibaugh and Kenny Long (click here for photo) led the opening Ceremony (click here for photo). Over 250 Mount St. Mary’s students facilitated the competition (click here for photo). Thanks to John Kelly of Kelly and Associates cycling athletes at Fort Richie enjoyed automated timing provided by Racine MultiSports (click here for photo). We also had nine Tip-A-Cop fundraising days led by law enforcement volunteers at Red Robin Restaurants (click for 1st photo) (click for 2nd photo) (click for 3rd photo) across the state.

Towson University invited Special Olympics Maryland to join in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the university at homecoming…also on the 24th. We had a tailgate (click here for photo) with great food thanks to Famous Dave’s. Our athletes were on the field greeting the team as they ran on to the field (click here for 1st photo) (click here for 2nd photo). Our cheerleaders (click here for photo) from Montgomery and Calvert counties were on the sidelines with the Towson Cheerleaders. And as you can see in this issue, we also did plunge at halftime.

As we engage in so many events on and off the field of play, I want to recognize our athletes, families, coaches, volunteers and the SOMD staff for their tireless efforts in delivering on the promise of the mission. We have an unbelievable team. So if you like cold water and a fun time, form your team and become part of our team as we celebrate 20 years of the MSP Polar Bear Plunge on January 30th.



James C. Schmutz
President and CEO

This selfie photo was taken on stage at the 2015 Summer Games Opening Ceremonies  

Chazz Lamb

Hometown:  Owings Mills, MD

Joined Special Olympics: 2003

Sports:  Soccer, Track & Field, Basketball

Excited about: competing at the upcoming State Soccer Tournament on November 1st.

Wants you to know: Special Olympics has helped him become more outgoing, more social and more independent. 

Video link:  click here to meet Chazz and hear his message

Upcoming Events


Special Events:

Towson University gets a Plunge Preview

Pictured from left to right is President/CEO Jim Schmutz joined by athlete Josh Smith,  Taylor James VP SGA at Towson and Tim Leonard, Director of Athletics at Towson University                                                             

Towson University celebrated it’s 150th Anniversary during the week ending October 24th that included their homecoming football game against 24th ranked Villanova University. Towson invited Special Olympics Maryland as their community partner for the day providing over 35 athletes with a space for a tailgate gathering that was catered by our gracious partner Famous Dave’s who provide great BBQ and their delicious corn muffins and coleslaw for over 150 athletes, families and friends. Our athletes were on the field as Coach Ambrose led the Tigers onto the field and Baltimore County Special Olympics athlete Tim Yakel did the coin toss. Tim had an awesome experience as the officials and team captains welcomed him at the 50 yard line to toss the coin.  Cheerleaders from Calvert and Montgomery Counties were welcomed on the sidelines by Towson’s cheerleaders and they cheered together for the first half. Our interactive engagement that evening concluded with a halftime plunge in a portable pool that we set up on the track outside just on the perimeter of the football field. The plunge included Towson University Director of Athletics, Tim Leonard, Taylor James, Vice President of Towson University Student Government Association, Jim Schmutz, SOMD CEO and most notably, Special Olympics Maryland athlete and Super Plunger from Carroll County, Josh Smith. As we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge scheduled for January 30, 2016 at Sandy Point State Park, we are looking for stories on how people prep for the plunge. Josh showed Tim and Taylor how to prep…how are you prepping? Tell us your story – contact Jason Schriml at jschriml@somd.org. Plunge on…#PlungePrep.


Cycling was one of 5 competitions that took place at the Fall Sports Festival over the weekend

Thanks to John Kelly of Kelly and Associates for donating state of the art automated chip timing through Racine Multisports for the second year in a row at the 2015 cycling competition.

Mount St. Mary's hosted our 27th Annual Fall Sports Festival where 223 athletes came together to compete in power lifting, long distance running, tennis and flag football.  Our athlete emcees for Opening Ceremonies were Adam Hays from Frederick County, Tammy Holibaugh from Carroll County and Kenny Long from Howard County.  250 students from Mount St. Mary's volunteered at these games.  Click here to view results from the Fall Sports Festival by delegation.

For the 2nd year in a row, Fort Ritchie was the host site for the the cycling competition, and once again athletes enjoyed a state of the art venue complete with automated chip timing and an inflatable start/finish gate.  Click here to view cycling results by division.


Howard County hosts Flag Football League 

Teams from Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, and host Howard County take to the field to compete in flag football

The early morning mist that shrouded the fields at Cedar Lane Park slowly starts to dissipate and the sun’s rays catch the dew creating a prism of color across the grass as a few coaches, players and volunteers emerge with equipment to prepare the fields for the days action.  The crisp air and turning leaves indicate that the prolonged summer is quickly coming to an end. Which is just fine for these athletes because now it finally feels like football weather.

2 weeks ago Special Olympics Maryland-Howard County continued its seasonal hosting of the Flag Football League. The championships at Mount St. Mary’s University on October 24th, 2015 were not far away but the focus had to remain on today. Another chance to work out some more kinks, time to perfect some set plays and try a few new ones.  It’s also one more chance to size up the opposition.

Teams from Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, and host Howard County take to the field to loosen muscles that are still waking up. Coaches and parents sip on hot beverages to keep themselves warm. Chairs are unfolded and supplies laid out as all prepare for a day of football. Click here to read the rest of the story...


Team Maryland shines in Hilton Head

Pictured in the back row from left to right:  Al Barnes, Nancy Elwood VanWinter & Al Richardson.  Pictured in the front row, left to right:  Monica Evans, Diane Mikilus & Meghan Hyre

The Special Olympics North America (SONA) National Tennis Championship returned to Hilton Head Island on October 15-17. Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) hosted the 16th annual event at Shipyard Racquet Club. More than 100 athletes from across the country competed for gold, silver and bronze medals, including 4 athletes and 2 unified partners from Special Olympics Maryland.

Here are the results from this competition. Congratulations to all the athletes for doing your best!



MYTH:  The term "mental retardation" is socially acceptable

FACT:   In 2008, Special Olympics launched the
www.r-word.org website to combat the inappropriate use of the R-word in common usage and helped lead protests against media use of the word in response to the film ‘Tropic Thunder.' In 2009, the youth-led "Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign launched with rallies in K-12 schools and universities around the country, enlisting young people to combat use of the word and collecting more than 100,000 signatures to pledge inclusion and respect towards all people.

On October 5, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama officially signed bill S. 2781 into federal law. Rosa’s Law, which takes its name and inspiration for 9-year-old Rosa Marcellino (from Maryland), removes the terms “mental retardation” and "mentally retarded" from federal health, education and labor policy and replaces them with people first language “individual with an intellectual disability” and “intellectual disability.” The signing of Rosa’s Law is a significant milestone in establishing dignity, inclusion and respect for all people with intellectual disabilities.

Champions Together Luncheon


What are your plans for Thursday November 12th?  If you have an hour to spare, why not come to our Champions Together Luncheon at Towson University to hear more about our program from the individuals who benefit the most--our athletes!

If you are interested in attending, please contact

Sue Jacobs no later than Wednesday, Nov. 4th.

Click here for more information about this inspiring event.

Form a Team and join us at the
2016 MSP Polar Bear Plunge


Don't be left out in the cold...click here to be inspired!


We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: 
to celebrate generosity and to give.

Keep Special Olympics Maryland on your holiday gift list this year.   Click here for more information

Take Syd's Challenge


Syd is an athlete from Carroll County that wanted to give something back, so he decided to donate one hour of his pay each month to Special Olympics in Carroll County. If Syd can do it, so can you! Click here to make a monthly contribution to support athletes across the state or in your county and make a difference all year long.

Do you donate through an
Employee Giving Campaign?

Employee Giving Campaigns are in full swing. Here's a list of designation codes if you would like your donation to benefit Special Olympics Maryland:

United Way of the National Capital Area:  8888
Combined Federal Campaign (CFC):  1992
Combined Charity Campaign:  4264
Maryland Charity Campaign:  4525

United Way of Central Maryland:    There is no code for this campaign.  You need to "write in" Special Olympics Maryland to designate your donation.

Questions?  Contact Sue Jacobs at sjacobs@somd.org

Bravelets to benefit 
Special Olympics Maryland

Many styles to choose from and $10 from every Bravelet is donated back to Special Olympics Maryland


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