Special Olympics Maine will offer Central Maine Young Athletes Festival for children ages 2 ½ to 10 who have intellectual disabilities or autism. The festival will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, May 19, at Gardiner Area High School, and will be conducted by Special Olympics Maine and area high school students and educators.

The program is an introduction to the sports, where participants can learn about catching, balance, striking, kicking, jumping, throwing and more. Gardiner High students will run participants through a variety of fun, sports skills stations throughout the event. The children will also have a chance to experience parachute time, bubbles, face painting, a snack, music and more. Participants will receive a T-shirt, cinch sack and a medal at the end of the event.

Families or teachers can also bring similar aged siblings or classmates without disabilities to the event.

Special Olympics started Young Athletes programs in Maine five years ago and hopes to expand this free program in to all Maine communities. The YAP Festival will not only serve as a fun introduction to sports and to the program for future participants, coaches and volunteers, but can also offer a fun annual event for the kids to look forward to.

A similar event is set for 9-11 a.m. Friday, May 12, in southern Maine at the Frank Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth.

For more information, call event director Leslie Thibeault at 837-3681 or email [email protected].

For more information pertaining to Special Olympics or Young Athletes programming, contact Lisa Bird at [email protected] or 879-0489.

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