The following post was written by Jacob Baker and Jim Kinnard, a Special Olympics Unified pair from Special Olympics Idaho. In July of 2018, Jacob and Jim attended the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle to participate in the Youth Leadership Experience (YLE). Along with Unified pairs from across the country, Jacob and Jim were chosen for the YLE because of their leadership skills and passion for inclusion. Congrats on being named the #SOYouthOfTheWeek!
At the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Youth Leadership Experience in Seattle, Jim and I learned so much about Unified programs and how we can make our school a Unified Champion School. We want everyone to feel the inclusion level we felt in Seattle, but in our everyday lives.
Our school, Lake City High School, is not currently a Unified Champion School, but Jim and I are going to work really hard to get it there. We know that the students inside our school are very caring and would love to help out. Lake City has great teachers and an amazing administration that are willing to work with us as well. We have even met with our new superintendent, who has a lot of prior knowledge and will be a stupendous asset in making Lake City Unified. We would like to create at least two Unified Sports this year and continue this progress as we move forward. We are so thankful for having the chance to expand our knowledge on Special Olympics and Unified Champion Schools through the Youth Leadership Experience. Through this experience we have made incredible friendships who will help us on our journey to make Lake City Unified and better ourselves.
After we got home from Seattle, Jim and I were both super busy with our outside lives. Jim ran a half marathon in Missoula, Montana and the following week we both did Race the River, which is a local triathlon. We were training for this tri for a couple weeks. We have been busy with running summer practices for our high school cross country team as well. Jim has also been going to cheer practices and coaching the freshmen team for our high school as well.
Outside of athletics, Jim has gone to two camps after Seattle and both of those camps taught him so much about the real world. He says he is “a lot more aware of life after high school, whether that is college or going into the workforce.” Jim really wants to continue making a difference in people’s lives throughout the rest of his own life. We try and meet up as much as we can and work hard to figure out how we are going to get Lake City to become a Unified Champion School. Jim and I will continue to work hard to be the leaders of inclusion today and lead the Inclusion Revolution in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.
Learn more about what Jim, Jacob, and many youth pairs across the country accomplished during the Youth Leadership Experience by clicking HERE.