Virtual Youth Games
Presented by Nike
Virtual Youth Games presented by Nike is a one day event sponsored by Nike to introduce eligible youth to Special Olympics. Youth get moving in a sports clinic and participate in a unique Special Olympics experience so that they and their families can sample Special Olympics.
The Virtual Youth Games presented by Nike are co-produced by Nike and Special Olympics Oregon, and funded by Nike. As part of last year’s event, more than 500 Special Olympics athletes participated in sports instruction and competition designed for youth ages 6 to 18. More than 400 Nike employee volunteers as well as professional athletes were on hand to welcome and inspire the young participants, including Paralympic triathlete Sarah Reinertsen and Olympic gold medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez.
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“The ‘inclusion revolution’ was alive and well at Nike last year as hundreds of Special Olympics athletes had the opportunity to run, jump and play with some of the best athletes around,” said Britt Oase, CEO of Special Olympics Oregon. “Special Olympics Oregon inspires greatness and Nike gets kids moving. Put the two together and you’ve got an amazing partnership for empowering youth. Thank you to Nike for your dedication to our athletes and your ongoing commitment to Special Olympics Oregon. You’ve been a phenomenal partner over the years, and we’re so thankful for all that you do to make this event such a special experience for our athletes.”
During last year’s event, Nike also hosted a Unified Champion Schools (UCS) exhibition soccer game with Forest Grove and Westview High Schools. The UCS program provides a unique combination of sports, education, and leadership activities to equip students with the tools and training to create sport, classroom, and school cultures of acceptance and inclusion.
“This is one of my favorite events of the year, because we know that kids are made to play, and some of the most amazing moments for these young athletes happen on the field, track, and court as they create their first memories of play and sport,” said Jorge Casimiro, Nike Chief Public Policy & Social Impact Officer. “As a longtime partner of Special Olympics Oregon, it’s been an honor to support them and help build the Nike Youth Games to be what it is today, as well as to amplify their efforts to fuel cultures of inclusion and respect in high schools across the state through Unified Champion Schools.”
“Youth Games has helped instill us with hope, loving encouragement, positivity, inspiration, and genuine joy, which as parents is comforting. And it gives our little athlete the opportunity to thrive and shine…”
– Jos Tervo (parent)