March 2, 2007
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Eunice Kennedy Shriver extends special call to Slippery Rock
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - A Slippery Rock University professor and two students have been recruited by Eunice Kennedy Shriver to help give all people a sporting chance through Special Olympics International and Camp Shriver.
Robert Arnhold, professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, will assist in developing an educational model for coaches who train Special Olympics volunteers. Arnhold recently attended a luncheon at Shriver's Potomac, Md., home to kick off the Training-the-Trainers Project and make a short presentation.
Arnhold will identify the baseline skills coaches need to train rookie volunteers, assuring that volunteers are prepared to lead Camp Shriver and Special Olympics programs. Thomas Songster, vice president of special projects for Special Olympics International, asked Arnhold to join the team following a visit to SRU a month ago.
"This is an honor to be asked to work with the people responsible for starting the Special Olympics," Arnhold said. "Mrs. Shiver is truly one of the greatest advocates for people with disabilities, especially in the sports movement."
In addition, SRU students Alicia Dixon, an exercise science major from Cresson, and Chris Kropf, a physical education major from Pittsburgh, have been asked to serve as camp directors for Camp Shriver. The camp will take place at Shriver's house this summer. SRU will offer a two-week Camp Shriver this summer.
Shriver, a sister of the late President John F. Kennedy, founded Special Olympics in 1968. The organization provides training and competition for 225 million people with intellectual disabilities in 160 countries, according to its Web site.
"We are privileged to collaborate with Eunice Kennedy Shriver," said Robert Smith, SRU president. "She has done as much as anyone to bring those with disabilities into the mainstream, and a number of our programs are working to meet the needs of special populations. It's a terrific partnership."
The alliance was solidified when several people from Camp Shriver visited SRU a month ago. Shriver is in the process of expanding the program to about 26 camps across the U.S. and several international sites. Camp Shrivers focus on relationship building.
"We conducted a pilot camp several weeks ago, and it worked well," Arnhold said. "Several Camp Shriver folks were here, so we are excited that this training program will be implemented in many Camp Shriver programs around the U.S. and world this summer."
Arnhold heads SRU's adapted physical activity minor and is involved with the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center. Both specialize in preparing graduates for work with adults and children with disabilities and sponsor fitness and life-skills programs for community residents. SRU also operates the Center on Disability and Health, and adapted faculty sponsor an annual camp for children with vision impairment.
Arnhold recruited David Auxter, a retired SRU professor-emeritus of exercise and rehabilitative science, to help develop the pedagogical model for camp staff and coaches.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.