PROVO — A lack of volunteers worries the organizers of the Special Olympics at Brigham Young University.

So far, only about 200 volunteers are signed up to work at this year's summer games — the largest Special Olympics event in Utah — but many, many more are needed to accommodate the 1,500 athletes and coaches expected to come.

Special Olympics relies heavily on volunteers. They help maintain the grounds, keep scores, serve lunch and, most importantly, offer support for the athletes, said Jay Dee Nielsen, one of the event's organizers.

This year, significantly fewer groups have signed up to help. Groups are helpful because they can take charge of a specific area, said Kara Hansen, leader of a Brigham Young University volunteer committee.

But organizers certainly won't turn away anybody who wants to volunteer, even if he or she isn't part of a group.

Volunteer training is scheduled to start next Wednesday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. with additional sessions May 29 at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

All sessions are at the BYU Varsity Theatre.

"I think the neatest thing is when you are around people in Special Olympics, they seem to know what really matters in life," said Hansen, who has volunteered with Special Olympics since she was in elementary school.

"You need to see how hard they try and how excited they are about accomplishing things."

For more information or to sign up, see