By John L. Braese
VALE – Athletes were out on the Vale High School football field early last Saturday, practicing flag pulling, handoffs and plays.
The athletes weren’t the Viking team, but members of Special Olympics Idaho participating in a camp in Vale. They were preparing for a halftime scrimmage during Monday’s Vale junior varsity game.
Special Olympics coordinator Gabe Moreno, a graduate of Vale High School, was busy lining up his athletes and handing out T-shirts.
“I grew up just down the road from here before moving to Boise and joining Special Olympics,” Moreno said, pointing down to a house down the road from the field. “This is the first time Special Olympics has come to Vale.”
Credit for bringing the athletes to town goes to Vale High senior Dillon Kaschmitter.
Kaschmitter held a football camp for middle school students earlier this year, and decided to hold another one – this time for athletes not associated with the usual football programs.
“I just wanted to spread awareness of Special Olympics and what they do for a lot of kids,” Kaschmitter said.
After warming up with stretching exercises and running, the Olympians hit the field to practice flag pulling and plays.
Kaschmitter was joined on the field by members of the Viking team who turned out to assist with the camp.
The camp is not the only reason for the athletes to travel to the Vale area.
For the first time, the Southwest Fall Regional Games golf competition will be held at the Country View Golf Course.
The athletes will tee off at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. The public is invited and encouraged to attend and cheer on the participants, Moreno said.