Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Important Information about Travel and Flight Bookings

Dear Final Leg Team Members;

I hope you have had a great holiday season and had the opportunity to slow down a bit and enjoy some well-deserved time with family and friends!

The time has come to start the airline booking process

Garber FCM Travel will begin booking the Team flights on Monday, January 5th and it is anticipated that is will take several weeks before the entire Team is booked. 

Here are a few VERY IMPORTANT reminders:   I have also sent this to the individuals that were indicated as responsible for payment for each runner.  Only one approval is needed prior to booking so please communicate with one another (Program & Runner).

Running Team Leaders, athletes, and Council Logistics & Documentation Team airfares are paid for by the LETR Executive Council/SOI but we still need your approval for the flight itineraries.

Ø  Council Logistics Team will arrive on July 8th and depart on July 27th

Ø  California Logistics Team members will arrive on July 9th and depart on July 27th

Ø  Running Team Leaders will arrive on July 9th and depart on July 27th

Ø  Runners (law enforcement & athletes) will arrive on July 11th and depart on July 27th

Ø  All Team members must arrive by 5 p.m. on their scheduled arrival date

Ø  There are a few pre-approved exceptions to these dates and the runners know who they are

Ø  You must check your e-mail at the very least daily.  Garber FCM Travel will send you the proposed itinerary which you must approve by replying back to Garber FCM Travel before they are booked.  These flights can only be held for 24 hours before they are paid for.

Ø  Many airlines are now charging a fee to reserve your seat preference at the time of booking.  You will be notified about this if it applies to you.  Airlines "bump" those with non- reserved seating first if the airline is overbooked so we are requesting that each program pay this seat assignment fee as it is critical to get all team members in at the mandated time.

Ø  All flights are the cheapest available and are non-refundable

Ø  Please don't unnecessarily question flight itineraries.  The professional travel agent will have made every attempt to find the most direct flight at the cheapest cost within the mandated time parameters.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy, Safe &  Prosperous New Year!

All the best;

John Newnan
Team Captain
2015 Los Angeles Final Leg

(410) 207-3117

Monday, December 22, 2014

200 Days to go

Dear Final Leg Team Members;

I hope everyone is doing well and will have some time during the holiday season to slow down a bit and enjoy some well-deserved time with family and friends! 

Rest up, because in just 200 short days you will be embarking on an adventure of a lifetime, the 2015 Los Angeles Final Leg!   Our mission is to create awareness for Special Olympics and what we do through the Law Enforcement Torch Run, and very importantly, build excitement for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.  The Final Leg team will travel throughout the expanse of the beautiful state of California over the course of 15 days and it will be amazing and awe-inspiring event! 

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am not known for my brevity....but I am committed to providing you with as much information as possible to prepare you for what's ahead, so please read everything thoroughly!  This is one of many updates I will be sending you over the next several months.

First, there have been a few changes in the Final Leg Team.  Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond their control, runners from Latvia and the Northwest Territories will not be participating in the Final Leg event.  Our runner from Hong Kong, Kwok-yui Tse, sustained an injury and will not be able to run for a period of time and is being replaced by Ho-yin Tse.  We welcome Ho-yin to the team!  Because the Latvia and Northwest Territories runners were both from Team #4, Ho-yin has been assigned to Team #4 to balance the team composition.

The LETR Executive Council’s Final Leg Committee and the Games Organizing Committee have been working tirelessly to insure an amazing Final Leg event.  From meeting with the myriad of town and city officials, to mapping routes, to getting quality accommodations and arranging food, no stone is being left unturned!  There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a Final Leg like no other! 

Your Team Leaders will be contacting you and having more conference calls before the Final Leg to make sure you are up to speed on everything. As always, please don't hesitate to contact me or your Team Leader if you have any questions or concerns.

We will begin booking flights for all team members the first week in January.  We had hoped to start this sooner but there were a few stragglers in getting the appropriate information to us and we needed to do this as a group.  PLEASE check your e-mail at least daily and look for an e-mail from Garber FCM Travelthat will have your proposed flight itinerary.  We have given Garber FCM Travel very strict time constraints for when your flights can arrive and depart so the itinerary you receive should be appropriate for your travel. These time constraints are due to ground transportation planning and insuring that everyone arrives in time for our activities that are on a very strict schedule.  We are booking the cheapest flights possible to keep the expense down for your program and they are non-refundable.  Once they are booked they cannot be changed! When you receive the itinerary, please approve it right away by replying back to the travel agent.  We have the appropriate credit card number from your program to then pay for the flight and have it booked.  WE CAN ONLY HOLD FLIGHTS FOR 24 HOURS WITHOUT PAYING FOR THEM SO IT IS IMPERATIVE YOU CHECK YOUR E-MAIL DAILY AND RESPOND PROMPTLY FOR APPROVAL!   If you need to have your LETR/Special Olympics program approve your flights, please make sure this is done right away.  Again, we can only hold the flights for 24 hours without paying for them.

Team Arrival & Departures

LETR Executive Council Logistic Team Members will arrive on July 8, 2015 and depart on July 27th (unless you have been advised something different from me)

Local California Logistics Team members will arrive on July 9, 2015 and depart on July 27th

All of the Running Team Leaders will arrive on July 9th and depart on July 27th

All of the Running Team members including athletes will arrive on July 11th and depart on July 27th

There are a few exceptions for runners and athletes that have been pre-approved as well as potential arrival a day earlier due to time zone issues in a few instances.  These individuals are already aware.

With New Year’s just around the corner, a great resolution would be to get in the best shape possible for our Final Leg event.  We will be running on an average of 10-12 miles per day (multiple shorter runs) for 15 days in hot, humid weather.  The pace will be a reasonable 10-12 minute’s not a race!!!   The better shape you are in the more you will enjoy the experience!

During this time of year there is often talk of miracles. I truly believe in miracles because I have been witness to miracles, the miracles of Special Olympics! There is a favorite quote of mine that I like to use this time of year....."We never know what miracles are right in front of us! Remember, often times things are not as they seem to be. Things can change instantly with the "change" of perception." -Michelle W. Seasons -

Through your work with the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics, each and every one of you are responsible for changing perceptions, the perceptions of our citizens with intellectual disabilities, and thus, YOU are responsible for making miracles happen!

In the spirit of the holiday season, I wish each and every one of you and your families, the Very Merriest of Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a joyous Kwanza, and a VERY Happy, Healthy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year!

I will keep in contact with everyone with updates as appropriate and look forward to seeing everyone in Los Angeles in 200 days!

All the best;

John Newnan
Team Captain 
2015 Los Angeles Final Leg