How Key Clubs Are Helping to Fuel Special Olympics New York Competition

Each year, the Governor of the New York District of Key Club International chooses a project to support. For current Governor Camille Brock, that choice was Special Olympics New York.

“I wanted to raise funds for such an incredible organization that’s brought so much joy to so many individuals’ lives,” Camille explained.

Camille’s connection to Special Olympics NY began with a school club called AMIGOS, which she’s been a member of since middle school. The objective of AMIGOS is simple yet undeniably important: integrate general education students with special education students. Through this club, Camille befriended a student named Sydney.

“Sydney brightens my day,” said Camille. “She shows me that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it.”

Sydney asked Camille to volunteer for her Special Olympics team. From there, Camille quickly learned the power of our organization and decided to support it.

All this led to her and her club’s generous contribution. The New York District Key Club houses 267 active clubs within 29 divisions, along with 35 board members. Since Camille’s election in March of last year, they’ve collectively raised almost $7,000 for Special Olympics NY.

Camille and her club’s service year concludes in March 2020, which gives them plenty more time to fundraise. At the end of their term, they’ll host a conference for about 800 Key Club members throughout the state.

All this is an inspiring glimpse to the future, said Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics NY.

“The efforts of New York State’s Key Clubs are a testament to the power of Generation Unified,” said Hengsterman. “Young people like Camille and her classmates are creating a brighter future for unified communities throughout our state. We’re inspired by the work they’re doing and so grateful to be their 2020 partner.”

In fact, the movement to inclusion is one of the key tenets of Hengsterman’s vision for the future of Special Olympics NY. This movement is best exemplified by Unified Sports, competitions in which athletes with and without disabilities compete on the same teams.

“We will keep building on the success of Unified Sports,” Hengsterman wrote in a recent article. “New York can and will be the most inclusive state in the country.”

That spirit of inclusion is alive and well in young people like Camille and Sydney.

“I wouldn’t have formed my friendship with [Sydney] if it wasn’t for Special Olympics,” Camille said. “And she wouldn’t get the opportunity to participate in such an amazing event.”

If you would like to support Unified Sports, Generation Unified, and thousands of athletes throughout the state, please consider donating to Special Olympics New York today.


About Special Olympics New York

Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 170 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.