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Special Olympics still taking volunteers for summer games in Towson this weekend

Roughly 1,500 athletes, 400 coaches and 500 volunteers are expected in the Towson area this weekend for Special Olympics Maryland's 2016 Summer Games, which opens June 10 and will run through June 12.

People who are interested in volunteering for the event can sign up to donate their time between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on the day on which they want to volunteer.

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Today, the flame for the summer games traveled through Baltimore County as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, an event hosted by multiple law enforcement agencies throughout Maryland to support Special Olympics. Participants carried the flame from Harford Hills Elementary School, in Carney, to Baltimore County Police Headquarters, on Joppa Road, in Towson.

The torch is ultimately headed for the summer games' opening ceremony, which is scheduled for tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at SECU Arena on Towson University's campus, according to Special Olympics spokesman Jason Schriml.

Special Olympics Maryland provides year-round athletic opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities. This year will be the 37th in which Towson University has hosted the group's summer games, which unites athletes from throughout Maryland who compete in swimming, track and field, bocce, softball and cheerleading, among other events.

Towson residents and others interested in volunteering at the games can still do by signing up at the volunteer registration area outside United Stadium, which is well marked, according to Schriml. Sign-up takes place early on each day of the event from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., he said.

Potential volunteers can also contact Special Olympics Maryland through volunteer@somd.org. It is too late to use the group's online volunteer system to register for service at the summer games — it is better to show up and sign up, Schriml said.

Spectators are also welcome at the games.

"Fans are great," Schriml said. "It really adds a nice kind of ambience to the competition venue."

The cheerleading competition will take place at Towson Center from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. Swimming events occur throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday at Loyola Blakefield. Bocce takes place throughout the day Saturday and Sunday at the Towson Varsity Softball Field.

Schriml said bocce and track and field are particularly good sports for spectators.

More information is available online at www.somd.org.

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