HOUGHTON - Scott Michels is hoping there is at least one person in Baraga, Houghton or Keweenaw counties interested enough in the concept of the Special Olympics to take over his job as local coordinator.
Michels, who is a student at Michigan Technological University, became the local coordinator for Special Olympics two years ago, but he will be graduating in May and leaving the state.
Michels said he became involved with Special Olympics as result of another job he had in summer 2007.
"I worked at Bay Cliff as a counselor," he said.
Bay Cliff is a camp for children and adults with physical difficulties in Big Bay.
After his job at the camp finished, Michels said he took part in a Special Olympics training camp at which he was asked to become more involved with the organization.
"The area director in Marquette asked me if I would get the local program up and running," he said.
Michels said he organized a meeting with five or six local people interested in organizing events, as well as the area director and a representative from the state office in Mount Pleasant.
"We had to figure out who was interested in taking charge," he said. "I was the most gung ho about it."
To find athletes to compete in the local organization's first summer games last year, Michels said he used an existing list of previous competitors and he contacted Oak House, which is a facility in Hancock for developmentally delayed adults, and the Copper Country Intermediate School District, which has a program for developmentally and physically disabled students.
Michels said for his replacement, he's hoping to find someone who will have time to work as coordinator all year and stay with it indefinitely, which would probably rule out another student.
"I want this program to continue growing and I don't think that would be possible if you had to retrain every two years," he said.
Besides finding athletes to compete in the games, Michels said the coordinator will be responsible for training the athletes, finding practice locations and organizing transportation to practice sites and events.
"You have to train eight hours before a competition," he said.
Other than a desire to help, Michels said there are no special qualifications needed to be local coordinator for Special Olympics.
"When I started I didn't have any," he said. "It's kind of 'roll with the punches.'"
To apply for the Special Olympics local coordinator position, contact Scott Michels at email@example.com or call at 906-210-2271.
Kurt Hauglie can be reached at khauglie@ mininggazette.com.