Special Olympics team prepares for snowshoe competition

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jan 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-27 00:20:21-05

BOISE, Idaho — Most kids their age know how to play hard, and the athletes on a team called "Mitchie's Minions" know how to work hard and play harder!

The kids spend their Saturdays training for the Special Olympics Regional Games up in Sun Valley. The name of the team is meant to honor the head coach's nephew.

"Shortly after moving here in 2015, he passed away and I wanted to keep his name alive and so Mitchie's Minions was born," said local program coordinator Alex Fox.

Members of the team say they're a family in more ways than one.

"I knew I would have a son that would get involved with Special Olympics," said Fox.

There's a mother/daughter coaching pair involved too. At just 13-years-old, Ella Naylor spends her time cheering on the athletes. She says she hopes to stay involved for years to come.

"I work with special needs at schools, like I'm in a peer tutor program and I want to be a special education teacher," Naylor said.

Some of the kids she coaches have special conditions like cerebral palsey and arthrogryposis but they're just as fast and excited as any other kid.

"What is your favorite thing to do? Sports. What kind of sports? All of them," said athlete Catcher Hobson.

Some of the team members' parents are seeing a huge impact on their athletes.

"If we threw him up against the other kids in his school class and stuff, a lot of the competitions he'd probably lose out so to speak, but he gets in this environment and gets a chance to compete on a more uniform level," said Catcher's father Casey Hobson.

With six Saturdays left to practice, it's all hands on deck. They're eager to participate in the real thing.

"That'll be a good day," said athlete Karston Fox.