Category Archives: Featured Athletes

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Volunteer Family of the Year 2012

The family of Athlete Julie Boyle has been chosen as FAMILY OF THE YEAR for 2012. Led by Mom Linda, Julie’s brother and sister and their families, Julie is surrounded at every event by her supporting family!  When Julie is swimming, they encourage her to keep moving towards the finish line. For bowling, they are always rooting for the “Strike”!

Julie has been involved with Special Olympics since she was a little girl. She started in roller skating with her sister, Suzanne. She also participates at the Track meet every year, starting when she was in Elementary School.   Julie graduated from Bradford Area High School in 2005 and now works at Futures.

Julie’s nieces and nephews are involved in supporting Julie also. They are eager to help at the bowling lanes by volunteering to sell 50/50 tickets. Her family has always participated by bowling in our “roll for the Gold” fundraiser and even donated baked goods for our buffet. We are proud to have them associated with McKean County special Olympics and look forward to seeing them at many more events. Hats off to Julie’s Family!

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Tina Whitford — Featured Athlete

We are proud to spotlight Tina Whitford as our latest featured athlete.  Tina has been a Special Olympics athlete for over 15 years and is active in aquatics, bowling and basketball.

Tina lives with her family in Bradford and is employed in the work center at Futures Rehabilitation Center.  She began participating in Special Olympics at the urging of her good friend Jeannie Zumstein.

“Jeannie was in bowling and she talked me into trying it,” said Tina.  “I really liked it, so then I tried swimming and basketball.”

“I didn’t know how to swim when I started and I was nervous that I would drown.  But the coaches helped me out and said, ‘Don’t hold on, you won’t drown.’  I let go of the side and I improved,” she said.

Despite making progress, Tina said she was afraid to go into the deep end of pool.  “Then Alyssa (UPB student volunteer) talked me into going into the deep end.  I was scared at first, but I did it.  It made me feel like I could do anything!” Tina said.

 “Now I am thinking positive and just doing the best I can.  My goal is to qualify for Penn State in swimming.  I went to Penn State before for bowling and basketball and it was fun!” Tina said.

 “I hope more people will join Special Olympics,” said Tina.  “Just try it and do the best that you can.  That’s what I did!”

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Robert McAlpine – Featured Athlete

Our first feature Athlete for Mckean County Special Olympics is Robert McAlpine. He is a junior at Bradford Area High School. Robert is 18 years old and has been participating in Special Olympics for 5 years. The sports he competes in are bowling, basketball, track and field.

He first became involved through his class at Fretz Middle School and attended the annual track meet at Kane when he was in 6th grade. He thought that this was “really fun”. He liked that fact that “we could get out of school and spend it outside”. He then became involved with the basketball program when he attended Bradford Area High School. He loves playing basketball with his friends, Andrew and Jesse.

Robert thinks that Special Olympics helps you exercise and encourages you to make friends with the others in the sport. He thinks that the coaches help him learn more about the sport and help him deal with all the other people. Robert had a chance last year to attend the Summer games at Penn State in June. He participated in the basketball skills competition and won a silver medal. He had a great time and his favorite memory was doing the wave in the baseball stadium at Opening Ceremonies. He also liked going to the Creamery for ice cream.

The best part of participating in Special Olympics for Robert is shooting hoops, making strikes and being with friends outside of school. He would like to see if we could get soccer as a sport in the future. Robert also said he “likes a light blue t-shirt with dark blue letters” if he could pick the colors for the next t-shirt.