Volunteer Spotlight: Portage County Youth Soccer

May 30, 2019 Blog, Featured

(For more information on how you can volunteer for Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Summer Games June 6-8, visit our Summer Games Volunteer Page)

The hard work and dedication of Special Olympics volunteers does not go unnoticed. Events such as the upcoming Summer Games in Stevens Point run on the support of volunteers. With more than 1,300 athletes participating in Special Olympics Wisconsin’s largest sports event every year, roughly 600 volunteers are needed to make the Summer Games the absolute best they can be for the athletes.  

The Stevens Point-based Portage County Youth Soccer Club is a group that you can find volunteering at the Summer Games year after year. Coaches and players for the soccer club come out in droves to support the athletes and help the Summer Games soccer tournament grow. 

Volunteers from the Portage County Youth Soccer Club after the soccer tournament at the 2018 Summer Games

Part of the soccer club’s mission is to “create well-rounded, healthy athletes in an environment where all can live up to his or her full potential on and off the field.” The club wants to make each member a better person, even when they’re not wearing cleats.  

From a young age, PCYS Coach Sarah Ceballos has volunteered for Special Olympics in the Milwaukee area. After moving, Ceballos found volunteering as a way to connect with new community. She has now been volunteering at the Summer Games for around twenty years  

“The opportunity to be around a sport that I’m incredibly passionate about, see that same passion, and help drive that passion with some of the athletes is just incredible.” – Sarah Ceballos on volunteering at the Summer Games

A lesson that Ceballos strives to teach her players is the value of respect, not only as an athlete while on the field, but also as a person off the field. This mentality, in addition to her passion for volunteering with Special Olympics, intrigued her players to volunteer at the Summer Games. 

“They just absolutely enjoy the day and it’s a way for them to give back to their community, so it’s great,” Ceballos said about the athletes on her PCYS team. 

Other Portage County Youth Soccer members, Joey Dorgan and Juan Martinez, are also regulars at the Summer Games. Dorgan has volunteered for around six years, and Martinez for two. In addition to being immensely helpful as volunteers, the two also enjoy watching the athletes play a sport they all share a love for.

“I love watching the athletes’ competitiveness. They have disabilities but the competitiveness is still there and they still want to win,” Dorgan said.

Juan Martinez (L) and Joey Dorgan at the 2018 Summer Games

For brothers Bryce and Seth Voldt, the Summer Games have become an annual tradition they look forward to every year. They love giving back, interacting with the athletes and witnessing moments of triumph on the field. “At the last game, an athlete scored his first goal and ran around so excited. It was really fun to see that,” Bryce said.

Volunteers from Portage County Youth Soccer, Bryce Voldt (left) and Seth Voldt (right), at the 2018 Summer Games

These are just a few of the many members and coaches from Portage County Youth Soccer that support Special Olympics at the Summer Games every year. Thank you, Portage County Youth Soccer! 

Volunteers truly contribute to the success of events like the Summer Games. If you’re thinking about making a difference, and having fun while doing it, try it out! Anyone can and is encouraged to volunteer. 

For more information on how you can become a volunteer for Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Summer Games, visit our Summer Games Volunteer Page, or contact Lisa Hassenstab at (608) 442-5671 or lhassenstab@specialolympicswisconsin.org. 

See you in Stevens Point!

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