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Proposed therapeutic programs result of Special Olympics popularity in Forsyth County
Would open at county parks
Olympics
At a recent meeting of the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Board, members voted to move ahead with a therapeutic program in county parks by way of a partnership with Special Olympics Forsyth County. - photo by FCN file photo

FORSYTH COUNTY -- A new governmental partnership will likely create more options for those with special needs.

At a recent meeting of the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Board, members voted unanimously to move ahead with a therapeutic program in county parks by way of a partnership with Special Olympics Forsyth County.

“This is the greatest thing that has come in front of our group since I’ve been on this board for three years,” said board member Joe Brown. “I think we all are excited about how we can absorb this into parks and rec.”

The agreement will cost the county about $60,000, which will be part of the department’s budget and go toward a new staff position.

“This is real — this is adding substantial money to our budget,” Parks Director Jim Pryor said.

Among the therapeutic programs proposed were adapted aquatic, art programs, a performing arts club and adapted sports and outdoor programs.

“We’ve got some ideas about reaching out to the community, reaching out to the school system, letting them know this is coming,” said Dana Westbrook, with Special Olympics.

Westbrook said it took a while for word to get out about Special Olympics but that it eventually grew, which she said was a likely case for the therapeutic program.

“When we started offering Special Olympics we had, I think, five or six athletes,” Westbrook said. “Now we have over 150 active athletes, 10 years-plus.”

The matter will next go to the budget committee as the county prepares its 2018 budget.