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      Training for Special Olympics

      Athletes are training this week for the Special Olympics in the U.P. Sports Training Camp at Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay.

      The U.P. Training Camp helps these athletes with cognitive challenges hone their skills. Many of these campers will be competing in the Special Olympics for Michigan Area 36 later this year.

      "You hit it hard, you do your best, you train well, and train to be ready for when the games begin," said 21-year-old camper Sam Bradbury of Marquette.

      This session is all about tennis, but the athletes also train in other sports like swimming and softball. For ten years, the five-day residential camp has allowed them to join a unique experience not available in other camps.

      "They take some ownership in the camp and it makes it really special for them, so it's their thing; they look forward to it the day they leave here until the day they come back," said Etienne Senker, U.P. Sports Training Camp Director.

      Not all the campers plan to compete in the Special Olympics, but most agree that the best part of the camp is making new friends.

      "It's interesting to meet new people and find out where they're from and stuff and how long they've been at camp," said 18-year-old camper Jessie Mager from Negaunee. This is Jessie's first year at the camp.

      The approximately 30 campers head home on Saturday.