Here are members of the Baldwin Woodville Area Community Foundation with Red Cedar Special Olympics representatives. Submitted photo
Here are members of the Baldwin Woodville Area Community Foundation with Red Cedar Special Olympics representatives. Submitted photo

Submitted by Roxi Wakeen, Red Cedar Special Olympics

BALDWIN, WI – For the eighth time, the Baldwin Woodville Area Community Foundation has stepped up to partner with Red Cedar Special Olympics in promoting the Annual Special Olympics Basketball tournament.  The BWACF grant program has helped many area projects grow and serve the community. Since 2013 when Red Cedar proposed the partnership invitational tournament for B-W and St. Croix Central, the tournament has fostered enthusiasm for our community members with disabilities.  

The first year we had eight ball teams and 60 volunteers for our Ice Ball tournament.  The awful weather did not stop our teams from Oshkosh, LaCrosse, and Chequamegon from participating. Our local middle school students were encouraged to help at the tournament and eleven of our original students are still with us today.  Their participation has encouraged many more to join us. It used to be about the basketball teams doing some community service (thank you Duane Jourdeans, Eric Holen, Eric Harmon, Jen Nickowski, Laurie Klatt, Jason Sell, Eric Russell, and JR Dachel for making the first tournament possible), it has expanded into all areas from art to music, catering, to cheerleading to local service groups coming to assist our growing numbers.  Our food service has given us so much help in planning and prepping the meals that we are able to serve.

In 2019 we watched the event grow to twenty-eight teams, 125 volunteers and over 400 spectators.  We have so very much camaraderie among our workers and the athletes. The staff has given so many powerful suggestions; the students have stepped up and offered the type of service that comes from the heart.  The athletes love to return to our school because we have such service with smiles! Our referees (usually three for every game) offer help and encouragement which sets the tone for their athletic experience. All of the volunteers come together to make our day a powerful community event.

Without the generous help of our community, this type of activity couldn’t be accomplished.  “Our tournament has given our local students and staff an amazing community service event. The teams have joined us from all over the state of Wisconsin.  We have been able to grow the event because of the enthusiasm given by our staff, students, and community. Local businesses and community members have offered so much support.  We appreciate the continued help in making this event possible,” says coordinator Roxi Wakeen. “Thank you BWACF for making our athletes part of a bigger community!!

Our representatives receiving the grant were Tanya Smith and Joey Wakeen.  Thank you, Superintendent Eric Russell for opening our schools and Don Timmerman (board chairman) for making this grant possible.