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The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games are held each year at Penn State University in State College.  The event brings together over 2,000 athletes and 750 coaches from across the state.  Our largest event of the year, Summer Games features three days of intense competition in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis.  Every race, every game, every competition held at Summer Games represents many weeks of training, preparation and dedication on the part of our athletes, coaches and volunteers.

The 2018 Summer Games will take place from May 31 - June 2, 2018.

Volunteer Today!

Here are the steps to volunteer:

  1. Please visit
  2. Fill out and submit the Volunteer Application
    1. For the question asking “Which Local Program,” please select: State Level–Event Volunteer
    2. For the question asking “Volunteer Classification,” please select: Class B
  3. Please continue onto the Online Volunteer Portal where you will be able to sign-up to volunteer for the event.


2018 Summer Games Information:


The 2017 Summer Games took place from June 1 - 3.

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Congratulations to all of the athletes, coaches and volunteers that participated in our 48th Annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games from June 1st – 3rd . Athletes competed in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis at Penn State University.  Click here to view 2017 Summer Games images by Dane Hildebrand.



Check Out Our Media Coverage, Photos and Video:

Centre Daily Times

Special Olympics athletes compete at Penn State for PA Summer Games

Penn State News (Photos)

Celebrating competition at the Special Olympics Pennsylvania 2017 Summer Games (Photos)

Student Athletes At Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies

Keystone Multimedia Workshop (Videos)

Student Project Videos that Showcase the Special Olympics PA Summer Games

Athletes, Volunteers Work Hard to Make Special Olympics Summer Games a Success

MERF 95.7

Mifflin/Juniata Special Olympians Bring Home a Ton of Medals from State Games

The Evening Sun

Special Olympics helps Hanover man find 'a purpose'



Sheetz Award

Sheetz, one of America’s fastest-growing family-owned and operated convenience retailers for more than 65 years, announced Sebastian Joynes as the 2017 The Sheetz Family Award of Excellence winner. Awarded during the closing ceremonies of the 2017 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games, Sebastian Joynes was honored because his sportsmanship and drive to do his very best was demonstrated all throughout the Games. Pictured Above: Sebastian Joynes and Stephanie Doliveira, Vice President of Human Resources for Sheetz.

The Sheetz Family Award of Excellence was created to capture the great sporting moments that distinguish the athletes at the Summer Games. The award recognizes the athlete whose determination and effort can only be understood by the power of the human spirit to overcome obstacles and inspire greatness. It distinguishes the athletes who may not win, but whose courage, sportsmanship, effort and determination is award-winning.

Sebastian Joynes is a 21 year old athlete that participates in Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Area M program, which offers sports training and competition to more than 2,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and Northern York Counties.

Having competed in athletics while at Summer Games, Joynes ran the 200 meter race even though he was not feeling very well. Despite having abdominal pain, he chose to stay in the event that earned him a 7th place ribbon. Joynes was very content with his performance and just as proud of receiving a participation ribbon as he was to receive all of his other awards while competing at Penn State University.

Additionally, during a relay event, a member of Joynes’ team ran before he received the baton. Our award winner simply understood that his teammate was confused and said, “It’s okay, we can do this relay again next year.”

Joynes consistently tries to help encourage his fellow athletes and coaches. For the above mentioned reasons, Joynes was awarded The Sheetz Family Award of Excellence.

The winner of the Sheetz Family Award of Excellence was selected by a team Sheetz employees from applications submitted by delegation leaders and coaches. All nominees remained anonymous during the selection process.


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Special Olympics Pennsylvania had the distinct privilege of introducing a new Games Organizing Committee (GOC) Volunteer of the Year Award and recognizing our first recipient of that award during its Summer Games Opening Ceremonies. Pictured Above: Special Olympics PA Chairman of the Board Tony Gillespie, Jessica Ritchie and Special Olympics PA – Blair County athlete Joseph Lyle.

Special Olympics competitions provide the stage for our athletes to shine. Without the support of volunteers that make up our Games Organizing Committees, we would not be able to provide this opportunity to our athletes. Therefore, we have created a Games Organizing Committee Volunteer of the Year Award that will annually recognize a volunteer from across the state who has made an exceptional contribution to our athletes by helping us to create memorable events.

While a student at Villanova University, Jessica Ritchie immediately got involved with the GOC. She started as a Local Program Host, known as LPH’s, served on the fundraising committee, held a spot on the management team and ultimately served as the Fall Festival event chair in 2016. In addition to her GOC roles, Jessica completed an internship in SOPA’s state office while in high school, helped to introduce the LPH program to all of our events statewide, and most recently spoke at our Interscholastic Unified Sports Spring Leadership Conference.

Ritchie has left her mark on our organization, inspired her fellow peers, and has always kept the athletes as the focus of her efforts.

SG 2017 Tshirt Back FINAL