Regionalization Updates

Capital Area & The Wilds Regional Town Hall Meetings

We look forward to working with all of you in the New Year; and, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.  



Below are the emails for all of the Regional Staff:



Best wishes to you and yours for a safe, healthy and happy Holiday and a prosperous New Year!

Regionalization Update - December 2021

Regionalization Update: December 2021

We are launching 2 NEW Regions in January, have been working hard to prepare, and are excited to share some updates with all of you.


  • Regional Names: Both Regions have official names. The names were voted on by the regions.
    • Region 2: The Wilds Region
      • This is a nod to the “wilderness” in the Region and is recognized statewide as The PA Wilds.
      • All of the counties in the Region are part of the PA Wilds.
    • Region 7: The Capital Area Region
      • Fun Fact: Did you know that 3 of the 6 counties in the Region were Capitals at one time?
      • Lancaster was the State Capital and York was the Capital of the Country!
  • Hiring: Both Regions have finished hiring and have locked in their teams. They will be sharing staff announcements soon.
  • Budgets: Both Regions have submitted budgets for 2022
  • Office Search:
    • The Wilds Region: We hope to find a larger office in the current building in State College that will accommodate our State Staff and Regional Staff
    • The Capital Area Region: The Capital Area IU has offered a larger space that will accommodate the Regional Staff, and the best part is the space is FREE!
  • Branding: Marketing has created Regional logos and Team logos for the Region.
  • Social Media: Accounts have been set up for both regions. Please like and follow.
  • Regional Websites: We are working with the Marketing/Communication team to activate Regional Websites….stay tuned!

As you can see Kerry Wevodau (Capital Area Executive Director) and Pamela Velasquez (The Wilds Executive Director) have been working really hard to prepare. I am excited to see the teams come together and can’t wait to see the impact they will have on helping us work toward the goals of Regionalization which are to provide better support to our local programs, grow our programming, improve the quality of the experience that our athletes and volunteers have and to create better alignment and efficiencies that will allow us to work strategically toward reaching our organizational goals.   

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions!

Gina Reid

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.


Julie Benjamin

Executive Director, Region 5

Special Olympics Pennsylvania

Cell 610.442.1580