Like other organizations, when the pandemic meant that Special Olympics South Dakota had to cancel all of its 2020 events, it pivoted and hosted a “Holiday Caravan” for Special Olympic athletes in 11 communities across South Dakota over the holiday season.
Rapid City, in partnership with Black Hills Works, was the Holiday Caravan’s first, and not surprisingly, best-attended stop! Held behind the Learning Institute building, Black Hill Works staff decorated the driving “loop” with beautiful holiday lights for the more than 130 Special Olympians who participated to enjoy while they received gifts from the safety of their cars. Santa and his helpers, including Deputy Ballard and other members of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, handed out gifts of tumblers, t-shirts, and more.
The Rapid City Storm is among the largest teams in the state, with over 200 Black Hills Works participants. The Storm also encourages community involvement and inclusion through its participation in Unified Sports. The Unified division allows Special Olympians to compete side-by-side on the field with community volunteers who perform the role of player/coach.
The Holiday Caravan provided a unique opportunity for athletes to reconnect with each other, while remaining safe and socially-distanced. Thanks to everyone that helped make this event outstanding!