Submitted by Allendale Association
Allendale Association's Summer Olympics, a weeklong athletic event that encourages teamwork and sportsmanship, is always a seasonal highlight for the children of Allendale, a residential facility for troubled youth in Lake Villa.
This year's Olympics was even more exciting than usual because George H. McCaskey, chairman of the Chicago Bears, joined in on the fun.
McCaskey kicked off the festivities by leading the opening ceremony parade, then handed out Bears wristbands and encouraged the kids to do their best.
"It's so important to encourage young people to aim for success and always bring their A game," McCaskey said. "Allendale's Summer Olympics program reinforces those principles in a highly enjoyable way."
Each summer, the facility's nine residential cottages compete against one another in everything from tug-of-war to relay races to kayaking across Cedar Lake. Competitors also participate in a range of other activities, such as Frisbee and bocce ball.
"It's my favorite week of the year!" said one student, echoing the sentiment of many. "There's so much going on and I love having fun with everybody."
The objective of the Olympics is to develop unity and help kids learn to win and lose with grace and respect. Students are encouraged to support one another while engaging in friendly, healthy competition.
"We're grateful to Mr. McCaskey for taking time out of his busy schedule to spend with our students," Allendale President Mary Shahbazian said. "This is something the kids will be talking about, not just every time the Bears play, but for the rest of their lives."
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