Specialized Recreation


The City of Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department is committed to serving Rocky Mount residents and visitor's regardless of ability. In compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, our department is committed to ensure accessible programs and services.


The Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation is dedicated to provide accessibility in compliance with the ADA. Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation goal is to provide life-long participation in classes and programs. As a result Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation request participants register two weeks before class/program starts to request an accommodation.

Special Populations

Special Populations is dedicated to provide recreational opportunities for developmentally challenged individuals from age three to senior adult. Special Populations is divided into three sub-sets: Therapeutic Recreation, Community Outreach, and Inclusion.

Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation consist of Special Olympics. Nash County Special Olympics offers training and competition at the local, state, and national levels. Competitive programs offered are:

  • Athletics

  • Aquatics

  • Bocce

  • Bowling

  • Basketball

  • Softball


Who We Are

Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Special Olympics, Inc. is a high quality program of sports training and athletic competition for mentally handicapped citizens, the first and largest of its kind in the world. With competitive divisions based on age and ability, Special Olympics reaches out to all persons with special needs. Currently, there are independently accredited programs in all of the United States and in 50 foreign countries, offering competition in 14 official sports year-round.

Today, more than a million athletics throughout the world learn the joy of self-confidence and success through Special Olympics.

How We Began

In May of 1970, the "Flame of Hope" was lit at the first North Carolina Special Olympics State Games. This Olympic tradition, and the courageous success of these Special Olympic athletes, marked the beginnings of a new and exciting movement in North Carolina, including the Rocky Mount/Nash Special Olympics Program. Since our inception in the mid-1970's, our participation has grown to over 300 athletes who compete on the local, state and regional level.

The Rocky Mount/Nash Special Olympic Program has multiple credentials of its own. These include:

  • 1st local program in the State of NC to represent the State twice in the prestigious Penn Relays.

  • 1st local program in the State to travel internationally to represent the US in the Althea Gibson Jamaican Relays in Kingston, Jamaica.

  • 1st program in NC to participate in the 1992 Olympic Trials in New Orleans, LA to compete on a national level.

  • Recipient of the U.S. Air/North Carolina Special Olympics Commitment of Excellence Award in Athletics.

  • Selection to represent the State at the 1995 World Games in Connecticut.

Why We Continue

Each year, more than ten thousand individuals and hundreds of businesses and corporations say, "Yes, we care." And because they care, 24,000 Special Olympians in NC have a change to learn, experience, and grow. Special Olympic volunteers are a unique group of people who devote their time and energy to thousands of tasks required to conduct a successful year-long program. Without their support, there would be no training, no competition, and no Special Olympics Program.

Current Special Olympic Committee Members
  • Chris Koufopoulos; Coordinator

  • Shirley Freeman

  • Mark Davis

  • Harriet Brown

  • Gloria Collins

  • Chris Silver

  • Cynthia Vierheller

  • Irene Brown


Community Outreach offers programs and services for individuals with developmental/intellectual impairments. Programs offered are:

  • Dances: Halloween Party, Winter Dance, Valentines Dance, and Prom

  • B.I.N.G.O.

  • Karaoke

  • Art Projects

  • Monthly Outings


Inclusion within the Parks and Recreation Department means that individuals with disabilities are welcome to participate in the same recreation programs/services as their peers without disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are provided to enable an individual's successful participation in a program. All participates must meet minimum program requirements must be met in order to participate.

  • Examples of reasonable accommodations include:

    • Ongoing training for support staff.

    • Enhance staff/participant ratio (two weeks notice).

    • Adaptive equipment and/or supplies.

    • Accessible transportation provided as part of program/services (two weeks' notice).

  • What is not a reasonable accommodation:

    • Separate areas or alternate activities for a significant portion of program.

    • Exception to minimum program guidelines.

    • Individualized Therapy within a program.

    • Purchasing customized devices.