Special Olympics Maine is reaching out to anyone who knits or crochets, for the annual Special Olympics Scarf Project.
For the past five years people from not only across the state of Maine but across the country have made beautiful scarves and hats for everyone who attends the annual Special Olympics Maine winter state games at Sugarloaf. The Scarf Project started was originally a national outreach for all 50 states, but it only lasted for one year. Special Olympics Maine received dozens of calls the following year asking for the new colors. Although it was no longer being done nationally, we here at Special Olympics Maine loved the idea of continuing the project.
We have approximately 500 athletes who attend the annual games and Sugarloaf tends to be pretty cold. The scarves and hats have been a huge help in keeping the athletes covered, protected and warm. For many years we have had enough scarves to also offer them to our coaches and volunteers.
Most of the scarves and hats typically arrive at our office with a note. Words of encouragement for our athletes, prayers and best wishes. Many of them include the story of why the person wanted to participate in the project. Many scarves come from elderly people who are no longer able to physically volunteer at an event but want to help in some way. Scarves come from people who grew up in Maine, or went to school in Maine or used to vacation in Maine. Scarves have come from classrooms where the teachers have taught the students to knit or crochet. They have also come from women who have been incarcerated, from church groups, knitting clubs, family members, etc.
A couple favorite stories: Four scarves were sent in by three sisters. They had recently lost their fourth sister who had just purchased all of the yarn to make four scarves and four hats. After her passing, the sisters found out about her intentions and went to work, each making a scarf and a hat and all worked on a fourth scarf and hat to come from their sister.
Another favorite: A young elementary school aged girl sent in a scarf. For several weeks she had noticed that her bus driver was always knitting while parked in front of the school waiting for the kids to get on to the bus. She asked the bus driver what she was doing and the lady explained that she was making a scarf for a Special Olympic athlete and shared a little bit about what Special Olympics was. The young girl asked her if she would help her make one too. So the bus driver checked with the girls mom and then made the little girl her last stop and took the time to teach her how to knit!
The scarves are not just a way for our athletes and volunteers to keep warm. They are an outward display of love and encouragement. They are a way to let our athletes know that someone out there was thinking of them. They are proud to put on a beautiful new scarf and hat.
We are currently at about 100 scarves and hats here at the Special Olympics state office so we could use some help. We are hoping to have 500 scarves/hats donated in time for the 2019 Special Olympics Maine State Winter Games at the end of January … enough so that every athlete will have a scarf and hat for their winter competition… and possibly every volunteer and coach as well. Please send in by mid-January.
The design/pattern is totally up to you. Be creative…have fun with it. The colors for the 2019 games are: A combination of three colors … purple, green and blue. You pick the shade. Combine any shade of purple, green and blue and have fun with it. The majority of our athletes are teens and adults so we do not need many small scarves or hats.
Scarves can be mailed/delivered to: Attn: Katheryn Wildes, 344 Old Orchard Road, Buxton, ME 04093 or to Special Olympics Maine, 125 John Roberts Rd. Suite 5, South Portland, ME 04106
For more information please call Lisa at 207-879-0489.