We are just over an hour from the daring dives into the frigid water outside the Casper Aquatic Center.  As you know, today is the day we "Jackalope Jump" to benefit the Special Olympics.  To get psyched up for the event - and get my mind off of the inevitable pain I will incur the minute my toes touch the water - I did some research on this very worthy cause.

The concept behind the Special Olympics originated in the early 1960's with one woman's day camp for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  Eunice Kennedy Shriver held the first International Special Olympics games at Soldier's Field in 1968 and, just four short years later, Wyoming held its first Special Olympics games right here in Casper.  Now, there are Special Olympics programs in 170 countries and all 50 states.

Wyoming is host to 5 Special Olympics events throughout the year (not including the countless local and regional competitions leading up to the events), featuring year-round training and competition in 16 different sports.  These events give more than 1000 children and adults the opportunity to live the mission of the organization and "develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community."

This evening's "Jackalope Jump" is just one way our Wyoming community comes together to support this incredible organization.  And, while the event will surely be filled with crazy costumes, shivering jumpers, and more than a few choice four-letter words, those who will be jumping (including myself) can warm their hearts (if not their bodies) with the knowledge that they have contributed to a greater cause.  But, believe me, I would not be taking this terrifying plunge without your sponsorship and support.  So, while you are snuggled up tight in your warm home, know that I will be thanking you through chattering teeth.  Together we can ensure that Special "O" will endure for many many years to come.  Next year, though, we should switch places - you jump and I'll support from my cozy couch.  Agreed?