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Regionalization Updates

Regionalization Follow-Up Webinars:

For the Regionalization session held during the Virtual Leadership Conference, each of the SOPA departments shared updates on the changes that you can expect to experience within your program as you transition to a region. We will dig into these topics and are excited to share these updates with you. We want to maximize participation and will be following up with each program to make sure you have someone attending. The more you know about regionalization the more comfortable you will be. Below are the links to register for the sessions – PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

  • Competition: September 14th at 7:00pm
    • We will review do a high level review of Return to Activities and planning for Fall Sectionals and Fall Fest. As a follow-up from Leadership we will take a deeper dive into Strategic Plan goals as it relates to training, competition, coach education and Unified Sports and explain what impacts these have on regions and local programs.
  • Finance In the Regional Model: September 21st at 7:00pm
    • Learn about the on-line spending approval processes once you enter a region.  A brief demo will be provided!
    • The status of your reserve accounts at Haverford Trust will also be discussed. 
    • Come and learn! REGISTER HERE in advance of this meeting
  • Fundraising as a Region: September 22nd at 7:00pm
    • We will review fundraising in a Regional model, shared revenue opportunities, discuss donor relations and management, share information on statewide LETR’s structure and review grant opportunities.
    • You won’t want to miss this informative webinar!
    • REGISTER HERE in advance of this meeting
  • Marketing & Communication: Wednesday, September 29th at 7pm.
    • Join us for an in-depth discussion about how Marketing & Communications will function under our new regionalization model and is described within the Regional Playbook.  We will discuss branding, media relations, web management, social media, guidelines & resource materials. We will also answer questions and talk about ways to expand our offerings/approach to set each region up for success.
    • REGISTER HERE in advance of this meeting
  • Athlete Leadership: October 25th at 7:00 PM - REGISTER HERE in advance of this meeting

Regionalization Update - July 2021

Special Olympics PA Regionalization Update – July 2021

As you know, we officially launched our first region, The Greater Lehigh Valley Pocono Region (GLVPR) in 2020.  Special Olympics Pennsylvania is pleased to announce that we will launch two additional regions in January of 2022.  The two new regions will be Region 7 which includes Adams, Area M, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin/Juniata, and York and Region 2 which includes Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Dubois/Jefferson, Elk/Cameron, McKean and Potter.

We are excited that in Region 7 our existing Area M staff will assume Regional roles.  Kerry Wevodau will become the Regional Executive Director, and Shannon Pechart will serve as the Regional Sport Director. This is a huge advantage as Kerry and Shannon are passionate about our mission, know our organization, have built strong relationships with neighboring programs, and are proven leaders.  Their experience will help ensure the successful stand up of this region.

The interview process for all positions will include athletes and volunteers from the respective regions. We will begin recruiting for the Region 2 Regional Executive Director immediately with the goal of filling that key leadership position by early September.  We will fill the remaining positions in both regions starting in September. 

We are excited to move forward with these two new regions, eager to build on the work of GLVPR, and committed to continuous learning as we go through the process of adding new regions. Regionalization will be one of the main topics of discussion during the Leadership Conference in August. We will provide several breakout sessions that will be led by department staff and volunteers that will focus on regionalization impact as it relates to competition, athlete leadership, fundraising, outreach, marketing and finance. We hope to see you there!

We are excited to share that Gina Reid was recently promoted as the VP of Regional Growth. In this critical role, she will work with our Field Team and local Programs to help stand up our new regions and oversee our regional volunteer/staff teams.  If you would like more information about the overall reorganization plan or have questions about regionalization, please email Gina Reid at greid@specialolympicspa.org.

Historical Reorganization Content:

Reorganization Update - March 2020

Reorganization Update - March 2020

We are thrilled to announce that after a lengthy and thorough selection process, we have hired staff for Region 5. The hiring process included representatives from the local program teams as well as athletes from our region.

Meet our staff….

Greg Bott – Regional Development Director

For the past 10 years Greg has served as the Director of Development for the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living. There he successfully secured federal, state, local and foundation funding for programs to support persons with disabilities through grants, fundraising events, corporate sponsorships and individual gifts. In fact, Greg knows a number of our athletes. In addition to development work, Greg led the marketing and social media campaigns for the agency.

Start date: Wednesday, March 11

Email: gbott@specialolympicspa.org

Phone: Main number 610-850-0449 x 3

                Internal SOPA extension x 353


Jason Merola – Regional Sports Director

Prior to joining SOPA, Jason’s career has been focused in event and tournament management and execution.  While at ArtsQuest, a Bethlehem-based nonprofit, Jason planned and executed 15 large-scale events annually, working with teams of volunteers to support the events. Previous to that, he worked as the Beach Sports Manager organizing a number of summer sporting events including a soccer tournament with 1,000 registered teams.

Start date: March 23

Email: jmerola@specialolympicspa.org

Phone: Main number 610-850-0449 x 4

                Internal SOPA extension x 354


My phone (Julie Benjamin):

                Main number 610-850-0449 x 1

                Internal SOPA extension x 351

Office Location

2158 Avenue C, Suite 201

Bethlehem, PA 18017

The office is conveniently located just off of Route 22 and as close as we could get to the geographic center of the region.

And we have an official name…

As part of our inclusive process for the development and naming of “Region 5,” an email voting survey was sent to athletes and Class A volunteers in the region soliciting votes to name the region. From the two name options with an opportunity to provide their own suggestion, the winner is: Greater Lehigh Valley & Pocono Region

Please join me in welcoming the new Greater Lehigh Valley & Pocono Region staff.  We will identify a future date for a staff visit to the new office.  In the meantime, everyone is welcome.

Cheers,

Julie Benjamin

Executive Director, Region 5

Special Olympics Pennsylvania

Cell 610.442.1580