- Support Programs
- Unified Sports®
Special Olympics Arizona depends on - and succeeds because of - the time, energy, dedication and commitment of volunteers throughout the state. Special Olympics Volunteers help to provide year-round sports training, athletic competition, and fundraising events for our athletes with intellectual disabilities.
There are two levels of Volunteers: Class A Volunteers and Class B / Event Volunteers. Within each level there are many ways you can volunteer with Special Olympics Arizona; following is a brief description of each along with information on how to become a volunteer at that level. To see upcoming volunteer opportunities at events in your area, please visit the Volunteer Opportunities page for immediate positions that need to be filled, or visit the SOAZ Calendar and use the filters to find an event that's right for you!
Event Volunteers are people who assist in event planning and/or participate at our events, but are not necessarily in contact with the athletes on a regular basis.
Class B volunteers must be 14 years or older to volunteer as an individual. Anyone 13 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years old (4 to 1 ratio for groups; 1 adult per every 4 youth). Anyone 7 years and younger will not be assigned any duties but are welcome to come and spectate.
Becoming a Day of Event Volunteer with Special Olympics Arizona is easy! Please complete the Volunteer Interest Form. This will be automatically submitted to the Director of Volunteers and we'll email you when there are opportunities in the areas you've requested.
Class A Volunteers have regular, close physical contact with athletes; Volunteers in a position of authority and supervision of athletes; Volunteers in a position of trust with athletes; Volunteers who handle substantial amounts of cash or other assets of the organization/program ("substantial" is defined as $5,000 or more) and any volunteer with a significant role within the organization. Typically Class A Volunteers have been involved with the Special Olympics movement for some time, and are interested in increasing their commitment to the organization and the athletes they serve. The age requirments vary depending on the type of volunteer; please see each description for the age requirements.
Games Management Team Member (GMT): Assist with a specific competition committee in organizing and implementing the sporting event at the area or state levels. Time commitment depends on the level of event - approximately 3-4 months leading up to an event. After-hours meetings and planning sessions involved. Age Requirement: 14 years and older
Coach: Work directly with SOAZ athletes through teaching and training of a specific sport. Time commitment is 2 hours per week for 8 weeks leading up to a competition. Please visit our Coaches area for more detailed information on becoming a coach with Special Olympics Arizona. Age Requirement: Must be 18 years old on the day of sport specific coaches training.
Chaperones: Assist as personal escorts working with a local team or delegation. Most often chaperones are family members or assigned volunteers that work directly with a delegation throughout the sports season and are familiar with the team members and lead volunteers. Age Requirement: Must be 18 years old.
Head of Delegation: The leader of a delegation who is most often hired by city parks and recreation, individual schools or group homes that have all financial, administrative and leadership responsibilities for a specific local delegation or program. Age Requirement: Must be 18 years old.
Area Directors: Oversee a particular area of local delegations. Also are staff members of city parks and recreation and individual school districts or programs. Area Directors supervise the area and county competitions, local fundraising events and are responsible for financial and administrative duties of one of 15 different areas that make up Special Olympics Arizona. Age Requirement: Must be 18 years old
Unified Partner: Unified Sports® is a program which combines individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Athletes and partners compete alongside one another, each in a meaningful and integral role on the Unified Sports® team. Age Requirment: Unified Adult Partner must be 18 years old; Unified Adult Partners are allowed to act as chaperones if they meet the minimum age of 18; Unified Partners should not be counted as a part of the 1 to 4 ratio of coach to athletes unless they are under the age of 16; Young Athletes Unified Partners must be at least 2.5 years old. To learn more about becoming a Unified Partner, please visit the Unified Sports® area of this website.
If you have already volunteered at one of our state or local competitions and would like to become more involved with a local program or delegation, please fill out the Class A Volunteer Form. This form must be filled out completely (forms with areas left blank will be discarded) and signed by the applicant and their Head of Delegation. The Class A Volunteer form is intended for Class A Volunteers affiliated with a local program or those who wish to apply for Class A Volunteer status.
In addition to the Class A Volunteer Form, those interested in becoming a Class A Volunteer must complete two online training courses: General Orientation and Protective Behaviors.
*Trainings should only be taken if you are a current/placed volunteer within a delegation/program. If you are not a current volunteer please contact the corresponding Area Director for which city you live. Please see the Area Map
Follow the link below to begin the online General Orientation Training. This training is an introduction to and overview of the Special Olympics organization. The General Orientation is necessary for all Class A Volunteers and is valid for a lifetime.
Follow the link below to go to the Special Olympics Protective Behaviors Training Website. Results from this training will be routed to the SOAZ state office for certification records. The objective of this training is prevention of sexual, physical and emotional abuse of Special Olympics athletes. The Protective Behaviors Training is necessary only for those interested in Class A Volunteer classification and is valid for three years.
For additional information contact:
Director of Volunteer and Human Resource
602-476-0836 - direct line