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Timber Trail Red Shirt Rookies reignite


Rock Canyon High School varsity boys soccer team united with the Red Shirt Rookies of Timber Trail Elementary.

Red Shirt Rookies (RSR) is an extension of Special Olympics Project UNIFY, a strategy for engaging schools to use sports programs and educational tools of Special Olympics to create a place of acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students with and without intellectual disabilities.  The Red Shirt Rookie club of TTE has reignited and is hotter than ever.  The club took a pause during the pandemic but is back with new staffing for coaches, new athletes and peer partners.

Led by Significant Support Needs (SSN) teacher Jenn DiCapo and school psychologist Nicole Goering, the club has 16 active participants, six being student athletes, defined as individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability and has 10 positive peer partners, who are general education students who collaborate with the student athletes.  Playing sports and games together on the same teams helps to better prepare these student athletes for adaptive sports as they get older.

Owen Creeden, a Rock Canyon High School senior and varsity soccer player, holds a special place in his heart for the RSR of TTE.  His sister, Grace, a fourth grade student and a RSR, is eagerly learning how to play soccer.  Wanting to get involved with the student athletes, Owen approached his coach to ask if they could host a soccer clinic for the RSR participants.  Owen and his team held a one-hour clinic filled with soccer drills, a soccer game, fun and a lot of growing for both the varsity team and the RSR.  Owen said that he and his team enjoyed sharing their skills but they were especially glad to impart what they have learned: to learn a sport and grow into it.

Owen Creeden with his sister, Grace, a fourth grade TTE Red Shirt Rookie, share big smiles after the Rock Canyon High School-led soccer clinic.

Article and photos by Julie Matuszewski



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