Frequently Asked Questions

What does my club need to provide to become part of the Partners in Play program?

As part of the Partners in Play program, your club will be asked to do the following:

Facilitate the program similar to how you run your existing programs
Provide the facility space for the program
Establish pricing (if any) for participation in the program
Provide coaching expertise, along with staff and volunteers to facilitate the program
Provide any necessary equipment for the program
Register all athletes, coaches, and volunteers involved with the program with Special Olympics Ontario
Ensure that all coaches and volunteers in the program satisfy the Special Olympics Ontario volunteer standards
Should any of the provisions be of concern to your club, Special Olympics Ontario is available as a resource to assist in various capacities, such as: recruiting volunteers and athletes, training, and providing opportunities for competition, among others.

Is there any specific training needed to become part of the Partners in Play program?

Yes, there will be training for any volunteers or coaches who will be helping to execute your clubs program. These individuals will be required to complete the Special Olympics Ontario online volunteer training (the link to which will be provided by Special Olympics Ontario). The club may also have the opportunity to complete additional training for coaching Special Olympics athletes.

What are the minimum requirements for an individual to volunteer for my club’s Partners in Play program?

The minimum standards to which any program volunteer must abide are to have an up to date Criminal Records Check (including Vulnerable Persons check), as well as their completed volunteer training through Special Olympics Ontario. Any volunteer who is under the age of 18, however, will not be able to lead a program on their own, even if these minimum requirements are met. Click for additonal volunteer information.

How much of the program income remains with my club?

All income that is generated through the program (if any) will remain with your club.

How will my club benefit as part of the Partners in Play program?

Within the Partners in Play initiative, your club can benefit in the following manners, among others:

You will be helping to remove barriers to overall program accessibility
You will allow for increased athlete capacity and participation
You will establish greater coach and volunteer development
You will be able to connect the program with your existing programs
You will have branding opportunities with Special Olympics Ontario
You will enhance your outreach and engagement across your local communities
You will be able to access Special Olympics Ontario resources, competitions and expertise

How will the athletes benefit as part of the Partners in Play program?

Within the Partners in Play initiative, athletes can benefit in the following manners, among others:

They can gain access to organized, high quality, regular physical activity and competition
They can gain access to sport specific training
They can develop physical literacy as per the Long-Term Athlete Development model
They can develop physical, cognitive and social skills
They can enhance personal confidence and self-esteem
They can experience an accepting and inclusive environment that is safe, close to home, and staffed by specifically trained coaches
How much will the program cost for an athlete to participate?

The cost, if any, for an athlete to participate in your program is entirely up to your club. Your club has the ability to set the cost as you deem appropriate based on your individual program.

Is there any specific equipment needed to run a successful program?

While some clubs may find it beneficial to work with special equipment, it is not a requirement of the program. So long as there is ample equipment for all athletes to participate, to go along with the necessary space, your club can execute your program with the standard equipment within each sport, respectively.

My club currently runs a sport that is not one of the four listed under the Partners in Play umbrella. Can my club still become a part of the program?

While the Partners in Play program will focus primarily on the four sports previously outlined (Athletics, Basketball, Soccer, Swimming), Special Olympics Ontario may also consider partnerships with additional clubs, so long as the offering(s) align with one of the remaining Special Olympics sports.

How old must our athletes be to participate in the Partners in Play program?

There is no minimum age requirement for Partners in Play, although the targeted age range of the athletes within the program is 8 to 21 years old.

My club already has a program that is targeted toward athletes with intellectual disabilities. Can my club still be part of the Partners in Play program?

Yes, your club can still be part of the Partners in a Play program if you have a pre-existing program. The Partners in Play program, while not consisting of a universal curriculum, looks to work with sport organizations to bring Learn to Play opportunities to youth with intellectual disabilities.

How long (i.e. how many sessions) must a program run for?

While there is no set timeline for your club’s program, Special Olympics Ontario is focused on creating opportunities for athletes to enter or continue within the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model. This means that one of the Partners in Play goals is to achieve consistent, regular physical activity and competition for your athletes. As such, it is best if your programs are offered at multiple times throughout the year and/or allow athletes to transition into other opportunities to align with their LTAD status.

I want to do more than just provide training for the athletes, but also have opportunity for competition. Are there opportunities to do so under the Partners in Play program?

Yes, your athletes will also have the opportunity to compete with other athletes and clubs through Special Olympics Ontario. Check out the SOO event calendar.

My club wants to become a partner in the Partners in Play program. How do we get started?

If you are looking to start a conversation about partnering with Special Olympics Ontario within the Partners in Play program, please visit our Contact Us  page to find the Partners in Play Coordinator in your area. Upon reaching out to the respective individual, we will get back to you as soon as possible to set up a meeting, provide our program information, and answer any questions you may have.