30th Annual Hilltown Junior Olympics in Plainfield

Hilltown Junior Olympics

The 30th Annual Hilltown Junior Olympics happens at the Plainfield Town Park on North Central Street in Plainfield, MA on Saturday, September 26th, 2009.

WHAT ARE THE HILLTOWN JUNIOR OLYMPICS?

Janet Laroche of Chesterfield, MA writes: The Hilltown Junior Olympics is a six-town event that has been taking place for the past 30 years. Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield, Windsor and Worthington take turns hosting the event where children between the ages of 5 and 14 participate in 4 individual events. The events range from the bean bag toss and horse shoe toss for the younger children to the 70 yard dash, shot put and basketball shoot for the older children. There are 5 divisions and a child’s age will determine which division they will participate in and which events they will take part in.

The day begins with a parade of the six towns and their teams. There’s a master of ceremonies who introduces the towns, introduces the person who will do the invocation, leads the group in the pledge of allegiance, introduces the singer of the national anthem and the runners who come into the stage area with the lighted Olympic torch.

As well as individual events, there are 3 exciting town events that also take place. One boy and one girl from each division are randomly chosen each year to participate in the tug of war, relay race and obstacle course. Each town has a team consisting of 10 children. The town events are competitive and very fun to watch.

There are sophisticated scoring rules in place fore every event and volunteers in the tally table have the responsibility for tallying up each individual event as well as the town events. The town with the most points at the end of the day wins the event. Trophies are handed out for first, second and third place. Children who did well in their individual events receive medals for first, second and third place and are called up to the podium.

Every child receives a participation medal for being there that day and contributing to their town’s team.

It takes many volunteers, close to 100, to make the day go smoothly. Volunteers assist with leading divisions to their respective events, handing out equipment for each event, parking cars, cooking food, raking sand pits, coaching town event teams, as well as many other positions.

The Hilltown Junior Olympics was the idea of Stanley Svoboda, a Cummington resident who wanted children to have a chance to participate in an event that was something like the Olympics. Thirty years later, the event is still something children in these six towns look forward to each year.

Janet Laroche can be reached at jalaroche@verizon.net.

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