Lambs Farm is devoted to providing the best resources and opportunities possible to Participants in all areas of life.
The Wellness Department carries out Lambs Farm's mission by promoting healthy lifestyles with a variety of activities. While Participants have many choices, it seems as if the team camaraderie, competition and opportunity to grow has helped many decide on being Special Olympic athletes.
More than 100 Participants train for 10 Special Olympic sports, which makes Lambs Farm one of the largest participating agencies in northwest Illinois.
This year, Lambs Farm was recognized by Special Olympics, and the Wellness Department received a Hero Award at the 8th Annual Special Olympics Illinois Hero Awards banquet. This honor acknowledges Lambs Farm's exemplary commitment to strengthen communities and its dedication to improving the quality of life for Special Olympic athletes.
Lambs Farm hosts the Area Snowshoe event each year in January, providing the facility space, equipment and support for a great event. They recently started hosting a Motor Activity Training Program for athletes who have phased out of traditional sports.
"Lambs Farm has been a huge part of Special Olympics Illinois success, and we want to thank them for all they do," Brenden Cannon of Special Olympics said. "Their staff always go above and beyond at events to assure everyone is having a quality experience."
All staff members in the Wellness Department play a critical role in events, but one person acts as the glue who keeps everything together. That person is Special Olympic Athletic Director, Ginny Luptak.
Ginny has been in her position at Lambs Farm since 2007 but has worked in the Special Olympic field since 2002. She interned at the Chicago Park District, where Special Olympics originated, and worked with numerous Special Rec Associations. Ginny uses her expertise to provide a fulfilling experience to Lambs Farm athletes. She feels a strong bond with them.
"I've been around disabilities my whole life, and I was born with moderate hearing loss in both ears, so I went through a lot of adjusting," Ginny said. "I can relate to our Participants."
Ginny coordinates anything and everything that has to do with Special Olympics. She helps finish every Participant's physical and application for them to compete, handles all timing, entries, flyers and stats. She schedules games, organizes event logistics and does data entry. Ginny is a certified coach for five sports and is on the road to more certifications.
"It's exciting to receive an award like this," Ginny said. "We are always doing what we can for our athletes and try to bring our numbers up."
Lambs Farm staff look forward to working with Special Olympics for years to come. Ginny is currently on the list to coach the Special Olympics USA/World Games in 2021 and 2022 and is eager to find out more details.