Volunteer Highlight – Angie Schneider
by LouAnne Tabada
Angie, a long-time coach and Local Program Coordinator (LPC) for Hermiston/Pendleton, is excited about a Return to Activities. She was honored to be part of the task force planning the return while helping to represent Eastern Oregon and rural programs across the state. She wants athletes to know that all the planning was focused on their safety. Right now, she’s busy making sure athletes complete their medicals and volunteers complete their Class A applications and trainings so everyone can get together in person. What Angie loves most about SOOR is that our athletes can stay active in a safe environment.
Angie has volunteered with SOOR for 9 years in the Hermiston/Pendleton Local Program. She started out as the Medicals Manager and coaching. When the previous Local Program Coordinators stepped down 5 years ago, she took the lead as LPC and continues to make the program shine! In addition, a few years ago when the Milton-Freewater LP management team retired, Angie could not bear to see those athletes without opportunities, so she welcomed all of them to join their program and train together!
Angie knows first-hand how devastated the athletes were when COVID-19 hit in March 2020 and SOOR stopped all programming. “It was completely heartbreaking”, said Angie. She knew that a large percentage of our athletes would now be at home – not with friends and not being active.
When virtual programming started it provided a way for many athletes to stay connected. The variety of classes and virtual sports seasons kept athletes involved. The hard part was that it didn’t reach everyone. There were still a lot of athletes with limited support and challenges to connect virtually.
When Angie was asked to be part of the Return to Activities Task Force she was excited to be part of the group who would be recommending the plan to get back together in-person. She was happy to help represent the rural programs which have different challenges and successes than the larger programs. The rural programs have more open space, more options for facilities, phenomenal school boards to work with and amazing support from the community.
Kicking off Return to Activities is a lot of work for a local program. All of the athletes need to renew their medical form and also need to complete additional covid-related forms. Volunteers that are part of the management team and coaches also need to renew their Class A volunteer status. Programs have to recruit Safety Managers, book facilities, and much more! The Hermiston/Pendleton Local Program Team is getting it all done so that everyone can gather in-person. They’re excited to see everyone and assure them that the guidelines for returning to activities will keep everyone healthy so they can gather for athletics and bocce and possibly golf trainings this fall.
The reason that Angie is so adamant about supporting Special Olympics is because she sees the health and social benefits for our athletes when they participate. She’s also seen the impact of teamwork and good sportsmanship which makes her heart soar. She knows that our athletes are healthier when they’re active! They live longer when their active! Angie is in this for the long haul!