Special Olympics wants to build a training center

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-20 20:19:05-05

The World Winter Games for the Special Olympics took place in Idaho seven years ago and not only provided a big boost to the local economy but kicked off their capital campaign to build a Training for Life Center.

Now with the potential of athletes in Idaho reaching more than 40,000, they're hoping to recruit more participants and to open up their facility to other non-profits.

For more than 40 years, Special Olympics Idaho athletes, coaches and volunteers haven't had a place to call home.

"I train at the gym right now," said Timothy Wallace, a volunteer and athlete for the Special Olympics Idaho. "I also train at the YMCA."

All that will one day change, thanks to leftover funds following the World Winter Games in 2009. It was split between Special Olympics Idaho and the Special Olympics International Movement to further the mission. That enabled them to purchase a piece of property in Garden City.

The remodeled section of the warehouse would include a video conference room where programs and coaching certifications can be taught, statewide, a kitchen for events and their new nutritional program for athletes, a patio, social lounge and, of course, a gym.

The nonprofit's chief executive officer says athletes' and their families' lives are transformed after being a part of the program.

"It gives people with intellectual disabilities who have been told, perhaps, that they're never going to be able to do anything in their life, their parents were told that, an opportunity to show the world exactly what they can do," said Laurie La Follette, Special Olympics Idaho CEO.

The Special Olympics Idaho's bowling tournament took place in the Treasure Valley this weekend.

After this, athletes like Timothy Wallace will be getting ready for the state winter games in Feb.

"We are in the process of gearing up for floor hockey," Wallace said.

Now over the half way mark on fundraising, the non-profit is on track to move forward with their concept soon. They have about $150,000 left to to raise.

Special Olympics Idaho is currently raffling off a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The winning ticket will be drawn on Friday, Nov. 25 and will be posted on their website That's also where you can buy your raffle tickets and make donations.