July 10 would have been Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s 91st birthday.
Let’s all pause to remember her extraordinary passion and leadership, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Camp Shriver, which began in her backyard and continues today, around the world.
The following resources provide remarkable perspectives on the beginnings of Special Olympics and Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s vision for a better world.
When people speak of Camp Shriver – the origin of Special Olympics, they look no farther than Eunice Kennedy Shriver. They talk of one woman’s dream that started in her own backyard. They speak of her vision that through sport, the lives of people with intellectual disabilities would be transformed and public perception would be changed.
Read more about Camp Shriver….
Senior year. Spring 1962. An announcement blares over the PA at Holy Cross Academy in Kensington, Maryland: “Any girls willing to volunteer to work at a camp for retarded (sic) children, please come to the main office.” Seventeen year-old twins Ann and Mary Hammerbacher thought, “why not?” and walked down the hall to sign up. They walked right into history. The Hammerbacher twins were among the first volunteers for “Camp Shriver,” Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s experiment in physical activity and recreation for children with intellectual disabilities that she launched in her Rockville, Maryland back yard.
SOI was recently honored to welcome a few of the original Camp Shriver counselors for a reunion at SOI headquarters. Tim Shriver joined the conversation about the life-changing differences that young people and volunteers bring to the Special Olympics movement, then and now. Watch the panel conversation
Read Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s 1962 Saturday Evening Post article that’s been called a “watershed” event in changing public attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities.