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File. Wood County Youth Olympics.

After a year on hiatus, Wood County Youth Olympics is returning with the same venue and competition for 500 students, but with a different partner.

The Wood County Prosecutor’s Office is teaming up with the Wood County Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board to hold the free March 14 event at the Perry Field House on the Bowling Green State University campus.

Participant registration opens on Thursday at 7 a.m.

The event is open to 500 fourth and fifth-grade students who attend school or reside in Wood County. Participants from different school districts are paired together in teams to facilitate cooperation and team work.

“The event will be the same, with the excitement and focus on the participants,” said Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson. “One of the new things we have this year is that the Wood County ADAMHS Board has partnered with us on this. They’re taking over participant registration.”

The event is known for filling up the day of registration.

“If it’s anything like years past, by 11 a.m. we should be full,” Dobson said.

The ADAMHS Board will also assign teams. Dobson said that work, along with the registration, is a huge help.

“That’s a big third of the whole project that will be dealt with,” he said.

His office is lining up sponsors and coordinating the volunteers. They also handle the financial aspect, purchasing awards and contracting with university for the field house.

“We would like another partner to organize those volunteers,” he said.

Before the hiatus in 2019, the Youth Olympics had been held for 20 years. The event has allowed participants from different school districts to come together to exchange cooperation and teamwork skills, supporting its motto, “competition without conflict.”

“We wanted to bring it back because it’s a great event. It’s still, as far as we know, unique in the state of Ohio as an event,” Dobson said. “It’s designed to provide students an opportunity to shine in a lot of different areas. It’s not just an athletic event, there are cerebral events and teamwork.

“It was also designed with the ability to hand out as many awards as possible.”

A variety of 10 Olympic-style individual and team events challenge the participant’s mental and physical strengths.

Dobson said he knows there will be a waiting list for the event. However, it’s a challenge to accommodate any more students.

“We’ve provided as many spots as can,” he said. “Six years, we went from 500 to 550 spots in order to account for kids who sign up and don’t show up, and we have a waiting list.

“We run the entire event twice in the day so we can have as many kids as possible.”

The morning session is from 8 a.m.-noon and the afternoon session is from 1:30-6 p.m. Seating is available for parents to spend the day with their children.

In past years, events have included a pipeline relay where participants had to use teamwork to pass a tennis ball through pieces of PVC pipe, an obstacle course, ping-pong ball toss, relay race, scooter slalom and plunger ball, where participants had to maneuver through traffic cones while holding a plunger with a soccer ball on top.

The event also has drawn speakers, including Bruce Gradkowski, former quarterback with the NFL and University of Toledo, and Steve Cramer, who does basketball training camps.

The Youth Olympics are coordinated with the assistance of community volunteers, including elected officials, law enforcement officers, and school personnel. Every year the event relies not only on participation from students but also on the generosity of volunteers and sponsors.

Volunteers are essential to the overall success of the event. In order to run the Youth Olympics, 250 volunteers are needed throughout the day. Volunteers are responsible for a variety of activities including the running of events, team leaders, timers, scoring and registration.

The event is always in need of sponsors. For more information contact Brandy Hartman at bhartman@co.wood.oh.us. Donations made to the Wood County Youth Olympics are tax deductible under 26 U.S.C. Section 170(a) and (c).

How to register:

Youth Olympics online registration will begin at 7 a.m. on Thursday. Registration is first come, first served.

How to register:

1.) Online, visit prosecutor.co.wood.oh.us

2.) Click on “Register to Participate” at the bottom of the page.

3.) Complete the registration process.

Questions should be directed to wcadamhs@wcadamh.org.

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