More Than a Gold Medal: Participate in the Virtual Olympics!

Today’s guest post is more than just a story, its an invitation for YOU to participate! Toni Cox, Program Coordinator at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tipton County, is heading up a Virtual Olympics for Clubs across the country. To find out how you can take part, read on!

Some may argue that the Olympics has become only about the medals. For the athletes, this may perchance be true. But the main idea fueling the Olympics, especially in its infancy, was to promote unity and peace between people who may be different from us and to develop patriotism for your own country.

How does this translate to working with youth? If the end goal of out-of-school care is to develop better citizens, then a part of that is inclusion of and engaging with those who may be different from us and feeling proud of and grateful for what you have.

As I saw more and more commercials this year about the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, an “idea spark” flickered in my mind. “Use the Olympics as a way to get our members excited to participate in programs at our choose-to-participate site.” This spark grew into a full idea to partake in Olympic games with Boys & Girls Clubs all over the country, perhaps beyond.

Olympics 3 medals

Kids would be motivated to try harder and achieve more than they thought they could by the extra competition. Communications between the members of organizations would be opened up, and my kids in Small Town, Indiana, may have a connection with kids in Big City, Texas. Plus, members could learn about countries and cultures all over the world.

Thus, the 2018 Virtual Olympics were born. A mix of athletic and non-athletic events that require little to no equipment or resources. The initial interest of dozens of sites. And, thankfully, the go-ahead from an executive director at a time when our organization is in the beginning of multiple changes in personnel.

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The Virtual Olympics have been designed to allow sites to compete in as few or as many events as is possible for their schedule, resources, etc. In addition to the events, organizations can share ideas on other Olympic-related programs and activities. For example, our site will be making posters about good sportsmanship and a YouTube video about the Teddy Bear Olympics. It’s also designed so that each organization can determine how to award (or not award) points on an individual basis, while still earning team points in the games.

Olympics 4 read

The 2018 Virtual Olympics will begin February 5th and end on February 23rd. Does an organization only have one week they could devote to participating? No worries. There will be an Awards Ceremony each week (virtually, of course), as well as a final Awards Ceremony that takes into account the totals for all three weeks.

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I am excited to see my idea spark come to full fruition in the near future. Let the games begin!

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For all of the Winter Olympics Rules, click here. But here’s an overview:

General Guidelines:

  • There will be a weekly 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner each week.
  • The team that’s in first place for each “sport” each week will be recognized.
  • Each team’s results from February 5-9 must be updated by the end of February 10th in order to be recognized on the 12th.
  • Each team’s results from February 12-16 must be updated by the end of February 17th in order to be recognized on the 19th.
  • In order to announce overall winning teams and athletes on the 25th, each team’s results from February 19-23, must be updated as soon as possible, preferably end of day February 23rd.
  • Competitors can compete in more than one event.
  • As many locations will likely have kids who aren’t every day attendees participate, each “event” will take place more than once or be on-going. When applicable, a child’s average for an event will be used (for weekly and overall results).

There are are a total of 11 events, including:

  • 3 Speed “Skating” running events- 50 meters, 100 meters, 500 meters
  • 4 Muscle Endurance events- push-ups, sit-ups, wall sit, jump rope
  • World Exploration- report or poster (here for beginning readers) on an Olympic country
  • Math Facts
  • Reading
  • Olympics Worksheets

To participate:

If you have any questions, comment below, join the Facebook group, or email Toni at!

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Toni has been in the Movement for 8 years, working her way up from part-time staff to Program Assistant to Summer Camp Director and now Program Coordinator, a role she was promoted to a month ago. In her free time, she enjoys serving at her church and all things soccer, including playing in an adult co-ed league and coaching rec level. 

Do you have a story to share with the Movement? Let us know in the comments or email at and YOU could be featured on the Club Experience Blog!

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