Become a Volunteer
Volunteers are the backbone of the Special Olympics movement. They are coaches, trainers, officials, event organizers, fundraisers and managers. They can also be unified partners—playing alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities—or fans cheering in the stands.
Our volunteers are all ages and their commitments can range from an afternoon to a lifetime. Special Olympics would not exist today—and could not have been created—without the time, energy, commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers. We owe so much to these people who find the time to make the world a better place.
Importance and Impact Volunteer Roles at Competitions
Event Volunteer – Event Volunteers are one or two-day volunteers who make our competition and fundraising events happen! Event Volunteers assist with set-up and clean-up, event logistics, competitions, scorekeeping, awarding, etc. Event Volunteers must be age 14+, unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, or chaperone. To learn the volunteer age requirement for an event you are interested in supporting, please ask the event’s organizer.
Find an Area event near you and contact the Area Manager.
Medical Volunteer – Medical Volunteers provide onsite coverage of Special Olympics competitions and events by providing simple first aid. Medical Volunteers can also assist with Healthy Athletes screenings and MedFest, providing pre-participation medical examinations for our athletes. Medical Volunteers can be physicians, athletic trainers, nurses, physical therapists, emergency medical technicians, medical or nursing students, and/or paramedics.
Fans in the Stands – Volunteer fans of all ages are encouraged to support our athletes by being Fans in the Stands at state-level, regional, and local competitions all over Maine, all year round. It’s never too early to introduce youth to service-learning initiatives. Fans in the Stands is a great way to inspire today’s youth to become tomorrow’s volunteer leaders.
Event Management Team – In addition to one and two-day Event Volunteers, volunteers are needed to serve on Event Management Teams and assist with competition and fundraising events throughout the state. Duties include assisting staff with set-up, coordinating logistics, publicizing the event, recruiting volunteers, etc. Contact your Area Special Olympics leadership to get involved.
Volunteer Roles with Sports
Head Coach – Coaches are needed in all Special Olympics Maine sports. Head Coaches train athletes for a minimum of 2 hours per week for an 8-10 week season. Each Head coach works directly with the Special Olympics athletes, preparing them for competition and teaching them the necessary skills to compete at the athletes’ highest level. Head Coaches must be at least 18 years old. To get involved as a coach, find Special Olympics near you and contact your local leadership.
Assistant Coach – Volunteering as an assistant coach is a great way to help if you are unfamiliar with a sport, under 18, or a new volunteer. Under the guidance of a head coach, assistant coaches train athletes for a minimum of 2 hours per week for an 8-10 week season. Assistant coaches can be ages 14+. If you are interested in becoming an assistant coach, find Special Olympics near you and contact your local leadership.
Unified Partner – Team sports bring people together. Our Unified Sports® teams include people with and without intellectual disabilities in an effort to shatter stereotypes through positive interaction on the playing field. Join a Unified team today and play alongside the most inspiring teammates you’ll ever meet! To find out if Unified Sports are offered near you and become a Unified Partner, locate Special Olympics near you. Unified Partners must be at least 8 years old.
Sports Official – We need volunteers who are qualified to officiate sporting events to help at our competitions. All sports in Special Olympics require judges or officials for fair and equal competition. We offer training sessions for groups and individuals who are not certified officials but are interested in officiating Special Olympics events.
Competition Director – Volunteers who are familiar with sports and detail oriented are needed to be Competition Directors at local and state-level events. Competition Directors assist with competition and venue logistics during events, and help uphold and enforce our policies for the safety – and fun – of everyone involved.
Volunteer Leadership & Administration Roles
Administrative/Office Support Volunteer – Duties could include data entry, filing, copying, mailing information, and other administrative tasks.
Volunteer Student Intern – Students looking for experience in sports management, special education, event management, public relations, marketing, or development can benefit from an unpaid internship with Special Olympics. Interns looking for additional community service hours to add to their portfolio also are welcome and can help us with challenging and interesting tasks that lead to more successful events and programs.
Volunteer Leadership Roles
Each of our Area programs provide sports training and competition throughout the year for the athletes in their community. Leadership volunteers are needed to serve on Area Management Committees and make Special Olympics happen from behind the scenes. Members of our Area Management Committees assist with registering athletes, planning events, arranging transportation, recruiting new volunteers and sponsors, managing websites, taking pictures, publicizing activities, answering phones and email, and much more. Whatever your expertise, we need your help! Learn more about each role by clicking below. To get involved, find Special Olympics near you and contact your Area Manager.
Area Manager – The role of the Area Manager is the ensure that quality SOME sanctioned sports training and Olympics type athletic competitions are made available to all eligible athletes and unified partners in a specific geographic location. The Area Manager is responsible to serve as a manager and leader for all of the volunteers working in their geographic area providing support and resources to ensure the mission of Special Olympics in implemented in their geographic area.
Public Relations Coordinator – The role of the Area Public Relations Coordinator is to promote Special Olympics Area programs year-round through electronic and print media while also publishing brochures, fact sheets and newsletters to enhance public awareness in accordance with SOME marketing policies and procedures.
Treasurer – The role of the Area Treasurer is to maintain and report all Area financial transactions to SOME while also working with each area committee to develop the Area budget.