100 Würth volunteers at the Special Olympics National Games in Karlsruhe - “The joy and the laughter in people’s eyes say more than a thousand words”

Künzelsau/Karlsruhe. On 20 June 2008, the 6th National Summer Games for people with intellectual disabilities are drawing to a close in Karlsruhe. The games, offering an occasion for encounters and common joy in athletic performances, had commenced at the beginning of the week. Over 10,000 participants made their way to the Karlsruhe Europahalle and to the surrounding sports sites where competitions in a total of 17 Olympic disciplines took place.

In addition to the official celebrations, the soccer pitch of Europahalle featured the so-called non-competitive offer. Here, the Würth volunteers helped for four days at 15 athletic stations. A course of the senses, a balancing course, a rope labyrinth, parachute games, throwing and shooting games, the sound station, tug-of-war, cricket, bowling, a wheelchair course, giant pick-a-stick, giant jigsaw and many other games put smiles on the faces of participants, supporting staff and Würth volunteers alike! The stations where the participants were able to put to the test their strength, dexterity, balance and stamina, were set up and taken down by Würth volunteers every day. The participants (including school classes, clubs, individual athletes with their coaches) then went through all stations with stamp booklets and were looking forward to an “individual victory ceremony” at the end of the week.

“This enthusiasm, this honesty, this joy in their faces - these are impressions I will never forget,” said Silke Maier from the Würth volunteer team, who was in charge of the “gummi bear slingshot.” Her colleague Nina Mohaupt agrees: “I will definitely be back next time. The joy and the laughter in people’s eyes say more than a thousand words!” Würth employee Conny Fleck particularly likes the special atmosphere: “Everyone talks to everyone, without any prejudice. Everyone is highly motivated.” Marco Droll from the Würth sales branch in Karlsruhe likes the fact that people with and without a disability get to meet at this event: “The encounters and the joy of the people are just great!” Würth volunteer Marina Zöllner-Schmitz thinks: “At the beginning, the coaches were not sure if their protégés would manage to get through the labyrinth. Afterwards, everyone was proud and really happy.” Her daughter Samantha Schmitz agrees and recounts her best memory: “One coach was so happy he almost cried when his two charges, who had clung to him the whole day, found their way through the labyrinth alone.” Würth volunteer Uli Holz says happily: “I am grateful for this wonderful experience of working with children, adolescents and adults with a disability.” He said that he would never forget the laughter in people’s faces. Würth trainee Nadine Adelmann agrees: “I saw a woman who was able to do a puzzle which isn’t hard for us - and she celebrated and beamed with joy.”

Volunteer Thomas Spohn, branch office manager at Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, is thrilled with the event and the great commitment and joy shown by participants and helpers alike. For Cedric Görig and Konrad Kleiß, trainees at Würth Elektronik, it’s a nice feeling to give joy: “It is wonderful to get direct feedback from the people with a disability which is just written all over their faces.”

The philosophy of the Special Olympics “Ability, courage, sharing and joy!” became lived reality from 16 to 20 June in Karlsruhe, and the shared enthusiasm, be it as an athlete or as a volunteer, for a common goal will remain an unforgettable memory for everyone involved.

Special Olympics

With a total of 170 national organizations, Special Olympics International is the largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities worldwide. The national organization Special Olympics Germany offers a training program to athletes all through the year and organizes the national summer and winter games that take place every second year – the Special Olympics National Games.

The basic idea behind Special Olympics is not just to become physically fit, but also to develop a better self-confidence and self-esteem through sports. The aim is to help people with intellectual disabilities to be better integrated into society and to experience a feeling of recognition. Würth is firmly convinced of the basic approach of this special organization and wants to contribute to Special Olympics becoming well-known.