For the past fifteen years at every Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, I’ve had the chance to stand next to numerous volunteers who were asked to step to the microphone and recite the Special Olympics Volunteer Oath. If my memory is correct, Tony Danza wrote this Oath and recited it at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1995 Special Olympics World Games in Connecticut. As I recall he was pretty emotional, and since then I have wittnessed very few who have been able to get through saying it without having to pause, clear their throat, or wipe a tear.
“I promise to give of the time in my life so that Special Olympics athletes can have the time of their lives. I promise to support Special Olympics, not just as an expression of charity, but as a form of respect for my fellow human beings. I promise to spread the word of volunteerism because in giving, I receive so much more in return.”
I find it interesting that this oath starts and ends with a promise; meaning that what we say we will do – will definitely happen. Promises create hope and expectation in those to whom they are made, but in my opinion, a promise is really more about the one who is making it. A promise kept or a promise broken reveals a lot about our inner self – who we are deep inside.
My favorite part of this oath is the promise to “give of the time in my life so that Special Olympics athletes can have the time of their lives.” Not many of us are looking for more ways to spend our time – most would agree there is barely enough time in the day to do what we have to do. However, I do believe the majority of us are looking for meaningful opportunities that enrich our lives, and giving a Special Olympics athlete the time of their life is about as enriching and fun as it gets.