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Over the last week or so, I’ve had the opportunity to follow the activities of youth leaders attending the Global Youth Activation Summit (GYAS). There have been many amazing moments as these youth learn more about leadership and activation; however, I was truly inspired during a particular session where the GYAS attendees went to the OAKA sports complex to watch completion and interview competing athletes.

One particular group from the United States – including Jordan Schubert, Allison Thomas, and Tanealya Hueth – was inspiring. Jordan has autism, but he also has an amazing affinity for picking up languages and he’s a fluent Spanish speaker. So instead of finding English speaking athletes to interview, this group targeted Spanish speaking athletes and used Jordan as their translator extraordinaire. Watching this group in action completely embodied the ideals of Special Olympics – recognizing the unique (and amazing) gifts that each individual has and not settling for what is easy, but striving to push yourself and excel.

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Here’s what Jordan, Allison and Tanealya had to say following their interview with athletes from Venezuela:
“As a part of the Global Youth Activation Summit, we got the honor of interviewing the athletes participating in the World Games, and because we had our professional translator Jordan Schubert (not really a pro, but pretty close), the Spanish-English language barrier was not a problem. Two of the athletes we had the pleasure of interviewing were from Venezuela. Twenty-eight year old Clauida Barral will be participating in swimming. She is very excited to be a part of the World Games, and loves the pin trading. In Venezuela, she has participated in Special Olympics for the last nine years, and currently has a job.  Her teammate, Javier Varela, enjoys everything from Athens, from meeting new people to competing for the gold. Javier has competed in Special Olympics for three of his thirty-one years of life. Ninety other people from his country are joining him at the World Games.

Javier and Claudia’s bubbly attitude lit up the venue. They were all smiles as we asked them questions in two very different languages. However, regardless of what language, all athletes competing in this year’s World Games share two things; they have shown lots of strength in their sport and always have a great attitude as they are compete in the biggest events of their lives. For us, that is one of the best things about the World Games and the Global Youth Activation Summit. Despite coming from different countries and different continents, we can all communicate and share our love for Special Olympics. We wish the best of luck to Claudia, Javier, and the rest of the athletes competing in the games.”

One thought on “GYAS leaders Interview Special Olympics athletes

  1. hey rebecca my favorite thing about greece that we got to go sight seeing and seeing the museum which was fun and also walking up the acropolis and just seeing everyone learning new things about it and just having a blast with everyone. i would love to go back to greece again for the gyas i sure do miss it alot i wish i could do it again. i also want to start a young athletes program back in my hometown and do it at our opening ceremonies and help out with that . i also loved interviewing the athletes as well and learning their languages and ask them what sports they are going to be competing in during greece trip. i thought the global youth rally was so much and seeing everyone having a blast and dancing and just seeing the whole community to support us while we were there. i had a blast seeing my team usa montana competing and sitting with them and cheering my team on it made me happy to see alyssa neil doing her track competion and just wish her the best of luck since she is on the youth program development committee. i also got to see my coach from great falls,Mt his name is coach joe quart and he made my day and asked me how greece was going i said it was so much fun to be here and to explore and love the hot weather there and when we landed in athens greece the people were so welcoming to us and during the protest which was kinda of scared but we were safe and stayed at the hilton the whole entire time while it was going on they were throwing tear gas and the chaporanes didn’t want us leaving to go anywhere. i am sure going to keep the blog updated on what am doing on the program development committee and what am doing for my home state project unify and while we are at the fall leadership conference we are going to do a unice kennedy shriver stuff and use the quotes that tim shriver used at the opening and closing ceremonies in greece i remember when he told us to be on the playing instead of being off the playing field and support each other instead of giving up on each other and keep on working on stuff.

    sincerely tanealya hueth gyas facilitor 2011

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