Host Towns across Southern California treated Special Olympics World Games athletes to Day 1 of Host Town Festivities. Here is a glimpse of my Host Town, El Segundo, welcoming athletes from Macedonia and Barbados to a slice of what our town has to offer:
After a nice, long sleep last night, following the day’s international travel, and a hot welcome dinner hosted by an El Segundo Boy Scout at his home church, Latter-Day Saints, the athletes spent their first full day in El Segundo. The day was filled with festivities, but nothing was quiet as memorable as the group walked all of the athletes down our town’s Main Street as residents and business owners greeted them with signs, waves, smiles, good cheer, and goodies. The El Segundo Police escorted our delegations of athletes down Main Street, with stops at City Hall, fire department, police department, and with some merchants handing out goodies. Perhaps the sweetest moment was a group of preschoolers lining Main Street with hand-made flags and signs. The athletes went wild taking photos with our youngest of citizens!
The energy level rose as the athletes made it to the front of El Segundo High School (the most photographed high school in America, and if I brag for a moment, probably the most beautiful!). The athletes were welcomed with the cheer squad making a pop-pom tunnel as a welcome for the athletes to walk through, and the drumline pounded loudly music of welcome and celebration. Everyone gathered on the front steps of the school for a photo with the athletes and our Host Town volunteers. The fun went wild with cheerleaders and athletes dancing and singing on the front lawn of the school with the universal sounds of happiness floating through the air.
It is amazing how nations unite, across languages, and culture, when the generosity of love and kindness is fostered through community, with a side order of song and dance!