CHESTER - A new, youth athletic movement was born back in 1989 during a spontaneous basketball tournament held at an obscure Vermont boys camp. The tournament involved members of NFCCE, the National Fellowship of Child Care Executives, and young campers.
NFCCE is composed of agencies that provide out-of-home care for at-risk children. So the idea-to involve more at-risk boys and girls in athletic events-eventually became the H'Olympics. Twenty-one years later, it's now a growing national movement.
H'Olympic games emphasize sportsmanship and goodwill, and offer children far more than a simple athletic competition. The games allow children with similar backgrounds to share positive experiences, receive recognition for their special talents, socialize, and most of all-have fun.
Since its founding, the H'Olymics has been slowly attracting more agencies each desiring to take part.
Here in Vermont, the movement has several champions.
A few weeks ago, 16 Vermont children with four chaperones traveled to Mahwah, N.J., to represent Kurn Hattin Homes in H'Olympics.
The children competed in track and field, swimming, basketball, volleyball, and softball. There were 10 different schools in the competition, from New Jersey, Texas, Missouri, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. When the games were over, the Vermont youngsters enjoyed a Grey Line dinner cruise departing Manhattan Island, around the Statue of Liberty, and back.
According to Kim Fine of Kurn Hattin Homes, the five-hour-trek south was well worth it.
"We did very well at the games and returned with several medals," she said. "Scarlett Stanhope won the non athletic competition, which this year was in art. Her painting of a frog won the Ken Coleman award which is a flag that former Kurn Hattin students designed and won several years ago. She also received a $100 gift card."
The girls won the gold medal in softball silver in basketball and silver in volleyball
The boys won gold in softball and silver in volleyball after a very, very long well played third game. Kurn Hattin won 57 individual medals in track and field and swimming. The team hustle awards were won by Devin Bussino and Jessica Cormia.
Fine said boy and girls returned home with medals:
For boys' medals, Dieonte Davis won the bronze in the 4 X 100 relay track.
Dylan Conklin won gold in 4 X 200 medley relay senior division, and bronze in 25 meter butterfly.
Devin Bussino won bronze in track 800 meter, gold in 25M freestyle, gold in 25M breast stroke, silver in 4 X 25freestyle relay, and bronze in 4 X 50 free relay in the senior division.
Draven Dennis won bronze in the high jump, and silver in the 4 X 25 free relay. Jordan Ortiz received silver in 4 X 25 free relay. Cooper Newell won gold in the 4 X 25 medley relay and bronze in 25M breast stroke.
Bussino took home gold in 1M, medley relay, and the 25M butterfly, and bronze in the senior division 50 M free relay. In track, he won silver in the 100M and 800M, gold in the long jump and bronze in the 4 X 100.
Steven Kingsbury got gold in 4 X 25 medley relay and gold in the 25M back stroke. In track, he got silver in the softball throw and bronze for the 4 X 100 relay."
When it came to medals for the girls, there were plenty of high fives to go around.
Fine reported the following:
Ashley Bussino won gold for the 4 X 25 1M, gold for the 4 X 25 medley relay, gold for the 25M butterfly. In track, she got gold in the 800M, and 4 X 100 relay. She also won silver in the 100M and silver in the high jump.
Jennica Skidmore took the silver in 4X 25 freestyle relay and 25M free. In track, she won silver in 400M and the shot put. Courtney Bussino won silver in 25 M butterfly, gold in 4 X 25 medley relay, and silver in 1M Track, gold in 4 X 100M relay, high jump and softball throw. She received the silver for 800M.
Christina Sherrick won silver for the back stroke. In track, gold for the long jump and silver for the softball throw.
Jessica Cormia gold for the back stroke and the 4 X 25 free relay. In track, she won gold for the 4 X 100M relay and bronze for shot put.
Scarlett Stanhope won gold for 25M breast and gold for the 4 X 25 medley relay.
Breanna Collins won gold for 4 X 25 free relay and 25M free style, in track she won gold in the 4X 100 relay and bronze for the 400M.
Jenny Filiault won gold for the 25M free relay and silver for 25M breast stroke. In Track, she won silver for long jump and bronze 200M."
In addition to the relay awards, said Fine, four local children won prizes in the NFCCE Creative Writing and Art Contest:
In Writing: Savannah Benoit took 1st Place and Jeff Matteson took 3rd Place.
In Art: Ashley Bussino, 1st Place and Scarlett Stanhope, 2nd Place.
Mrs. Frank J. Prindl, William and Barbara Brackett, Richard and Carol Johnson as well as Dave Baldasaro and sveral Vermont businesses helped pay for the trip.
Kurn Hattin Homes opened its doors for at risk children and teens in 1894.