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Host Town Demonstrates the True Spirit of the World Games

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OXFORD — Come June 25, people in the Triangle will not be the only ones rubbing shoulders with Special Olympics athletes from around the world. The Host Town Program involves communities across our state.

Most Host Towns will entertain delegations from one country; the town of Oxford is making room for two.

"We will be housing, transporting and entertaining 90 people for one whole week," says Cathy Satterwhite.

Satterwhite is coordinating Oxford's Host Town responsibilities -- even seeing to the details of ads in the local paper.

Her big job grew even bigger after a phone conversation with a Special Olympics coordinator.

"She mentioned that she'd had two host towns that backed out and my natural inclination was, let me make some phone calls, but I think that we can take one of them," she says.

On top of 50 delegates from Singapore, Oxford will host 40 delegates from Croatia.

Without a host town, the Croatian visitors would have stayed in dormitories in Raleigh or Chapel Hill.

"I'm sure someone would have been there, but it's not like having that Southern hospitality, that feeling that somebody actually cares," says Satterwhite.

The good times include a big, mid-week celebration at the downtown ball park. Local restaurants will donate the food.

Surrounding towns are also involved. Vacation Bible School kids in Creedmoor are collecting money to help pay for the week's activities.

A Creedmoor woman from Croatia will help out with the language barrier, but she will not always be available.

"It will be fine. Smiling is a universal language, and I don't think we're going to have a problem," Satterwhite says with a smile.

All the delegates from Singapore speak English.

There are 127 host towns throughout the state.


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