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Blake Henkel will represent Guilford/High Point in the upcoming Special Olympics North Carolina Fall Games.

Blake Henkel is a son, a friend and an athlete who excels at swimming, bowling and skating. Like many young men his age, he likes working out. That’s all important, because the 24-year-old, who has autism, is preparing to compete in the upcoming Special Olympics North Carolina Fall Games, representing Guilford/High Point.

The Fall Games will bring athletes from across the state to High Point on Nov. 4-6. High Point Parks & Recreation will play host and is helping Special Olympics North Carolina with logistics, including the recruitment of local volunteers.

“We need hundreds of local volunteers to make this the best possible experience for our athletes and their families,” says Joyce Chambliss with High Point Parks & Recreation.

“Various shifts are available throughout the weekend, and this is a great community service opportunity. It’s a joyful experience.”

Individuals may register at www.sonc.net. Groups (eight or more people) should register by contacting Michelle Bandklayder at Special Olympics North Carolina at mbandklayder@sonc.net.

High Point Parks & Recreation is also accepting donations for bottled water and cupcakes. Contact Chambliss at joyce.chambliss@highpointnc.gov.

Henkel is also an artist, and he has attained something most young artists only dream of: national exposure. Fourteen of his original works are featured in the newly-released national 2017 Special Olympics calendar.

Henkel has long had a local following. He exhibits and sells his art at The Arc of High Point’s annual art show. Bank of North Carolina bought one of his paintings — a cardinal — for its headquarters. He’ll host an open house and art exhibition in November. Find him on Facebook at Art by Blake Henkel.

He uses the sale of his artwork to earn spending money.

“He really enjoys being able to make simple purchases and feeling the accomplishment of having his own money, that he earned,” says his mom, Leann Henkel. “He likes to buy lots of Bojangles and art supplies, too.

“We are very proud of Blake,” she continues. “He has so many challenges that he faces due to autism and other health issues, but he seems to rise above them. We are so happy that he has found a way to ‘communicate’ with his paintbrush despite the communication challenges that autism brings. I always say that having limited verbal ability doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have something to say. And we are happy that people enjoy his artwork.”

If you are interested in local Special Olympics in the greater High Point area, please call High Point Parks & Recreation at (336) 883-3469.

Site-plan meeting

The City of High Point Parks & Recreation Department will be conducting a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the future of Council Street Park at 1013 Council St. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled commission meeting at 136 Northpoint Ave. in High Point.

The City of High Point is working toward establishing a site plan for renovations and improvements to the park. Residents can provide thoughts and ideas concerning the future use of the park and be involved in the planning as the city looks to revitalize Council Street Park.

If you have any questions concerning this meeting or the project, please call (336) 883-3469.

Fall events

Reservations are being accepted for the High Point City Lake Park Fall Leaf Tours, that will run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 21 through Nov. 6.

Enjoy the fall colors of High Point City Lake on this guided 45-minute boat tour. Learn about the seasonal changes from Piedmont Environmental Center Naturalist Dick Thomas.

Thomas’s commentary, combined with great photo opportunities, make this a seasonal favorite. Tours are open to ages 4 and up; cost is $4 per person with senior rates of $3 per person.

Times will vary; call (336) 883-3498 to register. High Point City Lake Park is located at 602 West Main St. in Jamestown.

Fall rummage sale

Are you feeling the need to de-clutter? Bring your items to Deep River Recreation Center’s Fall Rummage Sale from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 15. The cost is $10 per space with one table provided; $15 per space with two tables. The sale will be open to the public for shopping.

Halloween happenings

  • Halloween Safari: No tricks, but plenty of treats await kids and adults on Piedmont Environmental Center’s trails at night.

Meet “animals” (costumed volunteers) who talk about their lives up close and personal as you make your way through the darkened woods, 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16, 28 and 29. Snacks and a campfire conclude the tour.

All participants should bring flashlights. Safari hikes last about 45 minutes. This event will be cancelled if inclement weather arises. Volunteers are needed to help with parking, campfire and tours.

Group Night is Oct. 26; it’s for small pre-registered groups of eight to 20 people, such as scout troops and church groups. Call (336) 883-8531 to register.

Family Night will be Oct. 28 and 29, with no pre-registration required. Cost is $4 for children over 5; $1 for children under 5.

  • Haunted Trail: Allen Jay Recreation Center (1073 E. Springfield Road, High Point) will offer its annual Haunted Trail from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 28-29. The Trail is open to all ages. Cost is $2 per person. For information, call (336) 883-3509.
  • Halloween Cosmic Night for Middle Schoolers: Too old for trick-or-treating? Join the fun from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 31 at Allen Jay Recreation Center (1073 E. Springfield Road, High Point). Your $8 per person entry fee includes glow-in-the-dark Dodgeball, basketball and relay competitions, and pizza.

Transportation from Deep River Recreation Center (1529 Skeet Club Road, High Point) to Allen Jay Recreation Center can be provided; van leaves Deep River at 5:30 p.m. and will return by 9 p.m. Call (336) 883-3509 to learn more.

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Paige Moné is marketing coordinator for the City of High Point Park & Recreation Department. Contact her at paige.mone@highpointnc.gov.

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