The city of Palmdale is six weeks away from hosting its Special Olympics Delegations of athletes and coaches from Cyprus and St. Lucia as part of the Special Olympics World Games Host Town program.

“We’re honored that we were selected as a Host Town for the Special Olympics World Games coming to Los Angeles on July 25 through August 2,” said Palmdale Recreation and Culture Director Keri Smith. “While they’re here in Palmdale, our guest athletes will be training for the Games, getting used to the time zone, and enjoying our local culture. There are a lot of ways that residents and businesses can be part of this historic and meaningful event.”

Some of the ways residents and businesses can get involved in welcoming the athletes:

• Like “Host Town Palmdale” on Facebook — Details will be posted and updated on ways to become involved.

• Sponsor an athlete – Donations will pay for food, lodging and transportation while the athletes are training in Palmdale. You can donate through the Host Town Palmdale Facebook page by clicking the “Donate Here” button. Donations will go directly to Host Town Palmdale, and are tax deductible.

• Prepare Snack Bags – Recommended for service groups or clubs. Groups will provide healthy snacks for each athlete and coach on their arrival and departure. Groups will purchase all necessary items, assemble and deliver. Bags will be provided. Snack should include a granola bar, single piece of fresh fruit, cookie and a sports drink or bottled water. All snack items must be pre-packaged, no home baked goods. All snack bags should be fully assembled and ready for distribution upon delivery. A total of 104 bags are required for:

• Welcome arrival, Tuesday, July 21, time and location TBD

• Farewell departure, Friday, July 24, time and location TBD

• Baggage and Equipment Assistants – Recommended for local athletic teams. Unload baggage and gear from the delegate’s bus and deliver to the correct hotel room on arrival. Load baggage and gear to the delegate’s bus on departure. Ability to lift 50 lb. and attention to detail required. Volunteers needed at:

• Delegates arrival, Tuesday, July 21, time and location TBD

• Delegates farewell, Friday, July 24, time and location TBD

• Create Fanfare – Opportunities for high school or junior high school athletic teams, pep bands, cheer squads, dance studios, service organizations, community queens and similar groups to provide signs, banners and enthusiasm by cheering on athletes. Fanfare needed at:

• Delegates arrival, Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center, Tuesday, July 21, time TBD

• Kickball game, Best of the West Softball complex, Wednesday, July 22, 7-9 pm

• Delegates farewell, Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center, Friday, July 24, time TBD

• Complimentary Kickball Game Snack Bar for Coaches & Athletes – Opportunity for service organizations, to provide sports game-time snacks typically found at ball games and sporting events. Suggestions include: bubble gum, licorice chews, sunflower seeds, sports drinks, chips, pepper bellies, nachos, etc. Service organizations must be able to provide all necessary preparation equipment and service items. No cost recovery or profit generation is permitted. Kickball game will take place at the Best of the West Softball Complex on Wednesday, July 22 from 7 to 9 pm.

• Photojournalists – Suitable for yearbook clubs, graphic art students, mixed media students. Through video and still photography, volunteers will document activities from the time the athletes arrive through their departure. Volunteer journalists will create a digital souvenir and coordinate delivery of memorabilia with athletes and coaches. Events include:

• Delegates arrival, Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center, Tuesday, July 21, time TBD

• Various activities on Wednesday, July 22

• Various activities on Thursday, July 23

• Delegates farewell, Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center, Friday, July 24, time TBD

• Attendance at Events – The community is invited to participate by attending one or all of the events that the athletes will take part in. They include:

• Arrival – Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center area, Tuesday, July 21, time TBD.

• Kickball Game – Best of the West Softball Complex, 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd., Wednesday, July 22, 7 to 9 pm.

• Western Line Dancing and Cultural Q&A, Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center, 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd., Thursday, July 23, from 1 to 3 pm.

• Thursday Night on the Square, Poncitlán Square, 38315 9th St. East, Thursday, July 23, from 7 to 8:30 pm.

“To donate or volunteer, please visit the Facebook page ‘Host Town Palmdale’ and post a comment to indicate which activity you’d like to be a part of,” said Palmdale’s Communications Manager John Mlynar.

The Host Town program has been an important element of Special Olympics World Games since 1995, and the experience has left a lasting impression on the local communities in Ireland, Japan, China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have previously organized Host Town programs as part of the Special Olympics World Games.

“The Host Town program gives each community an opportunity to showcase to the world what makes them special, but more importantly to provide citizens with a better understanding of intellectual disabilities that will lead to acceptance and inclusion for all,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of LA2015. “Long after the World Games are over, the memories of those three days spent at a Host Town will leave a lasting legacy for Special Olympics Southern California and everyone who was touched by our athletes. We are thankful to all participating Host Towns and their tireless volunteers for opening their doors—and their hearts—to our athletes and coaches.”

For more information about Palmdale’s Host Town program, please visit www.la2015.org/host-town/palmdale and www.facebook.com/HostTownPalmdale.