Slowly but surely, the Chattooga Aktion Club is beginning to join in-person events and projects after the long break due to the pandemic. So far, almost everything has centered on Special Olympics gymnastics and preparations to support the USA Games this past June.

In May, Special Olympics Georgia held Summer Games at Emory, and the Chattooga Aktion Club was there!  Karen Davis started off the weekend by participating in the Torch Run with law enforcement. “I love cops!” she said. “It was fun running with them and seeing their motorcycles. And they raised a lot of money for Special Olympics.”

The gymnastics competition was a great success for six Chattooga Aktion Club members. Each one proudly stood on the podium to receive their medals from the awards captain, fellow Aktion Club member Emily Belk who attended the Summer Games to do what Kiwanians do best — volunteer. “When Aktion Club Kiwanis Advisor Ron Davis, from the Jonquil City Kiwanis Club, volunteered at the Special Olympics Summer Games, it inspired me to volunteer over the years,” said Emily. “It’s always good to give back.”

The Special Olympics USA Games were held in Orlando. Karen was one of three gymnasts who represented Special Olympics Georgia in the competition. She brought home several gold medals.

Aktion Kiwanian Shannon Laffey held a leadership role at the Games. She was the athlete representative on the gymnastics committee and supported the Games in Orlando by performing many duties, including acting as a line judge. She went above and beyond to help athletes from other states by leading warmups, staging for the Grand March In, and filling in to complete teams for the TeamGym competition.

“Volunteering at the USA Games was a lot of fun,” said Shannon. “I enjoyed assisting the judges, cheering for the athletes, and being a part of this great event. Our Aktion Club is a big supporter of the Special Olympics, and I’m glad I could lend a helping hand.”

“We’ve heard it said that sometimes you don’t have to compete or perform to call forth the adrenaline or feel part of something bigger,’ said Pam Laffey, Shannon’s mom. “Just being there can do that, too.”

“Since we started the Aktion Club, it has been fun to see how the girls have grown,” Cindy Bickman, the Chattooga Aktion club advisor said. “Now, they not only love to compete, but they always want to volunteer at the competitions. The Aktion Club has provided them with a new focus — giving back to their sport.”

Learn more about how your club members can become Special Olympics athletes.