Volunteer & Coach Roles

Be a mentor, role model, teacher and coach
Figure skating athlete and coach sitting together and smiling.

As a Special Olympics coach or volunteer, you bring enthusiasm, commitment, and a positive attitude to each program practice, event and competition, enriching the lives of the athletes you meet.

In return, coaches and volunteers develop relationships with athletes who inspire you with their dedication, perseverance, and courage. You learn new skills, meet new people and gain unique experiences, enriching your own life in turn.

Coaches and volunteers can hold different roles - someone may be a head coach for one program and a program volunteer for another. Each role has unique responsibilities and requirements. For a full list of requirements please see Requirements for Coaches and Volunteers.


Coaching Roles

Head Coach (HC)

A head coach is ultimately responsible for all actions within their sport program. They regularly communicate with assistant/associate coaches, program volunteers, athletes, parents/caregivers and their club committee. They facilitate practices, keep track of registration and attendance, ensure the training and safety of athletes at practices, accompany athletes to competitions, and they know the sport rules and divisioning process for their sport. Head coaches must be a minimum of 18 years of age or older and must make every effort to complete proper certification within the first year.

Assistant/Associate Coach (AC)

An assistant/associate coach helps the head coach with all duties; if the head coach is unable to attend a practice the assistant coach may step up to run the program. They assist with the training and supervision of athletes at practices and competitions. They regularly communicate with the head coach, program volunteers, and athletes, parents/caregivers. They must make every effort to complete proper certification within the first year.

junior coach (JC)

A junior coach helps other coaches with training at practices and competitions.  A junior coach would typically be between 12-17 years of age and would not have any care as part of their assigned duties.  Junior coaches often are their to support the program and when they become of age can move into the role of Assistant/associate or Head Coach pending the community clubs needs at that time.



Sport Volunteer Roles

Program Volunteer

A program volunteer assists coaches with training at practices by listening to instructions and working with the athletes' to help each of them achieve success during the program. Program volunteers are a key component to helping athletes reach their goals. Program volunteers must be a minimum of 12 years of age or older depending upon the program and club needs.  Program volunteers who are under the age of 18 would not have athlete care as part of their assigned duties.

Program Manager

A program manager assists with a sport programs in an administrative capacity. They help the head coach with paperwork such as registration forms, medical forms, attendance, travel arrangements and statistics/scorekeeping.  Often a program manager can be a team manager or mission staff during competitions.

All coaches and volunteers generally begin at the club level, but interested and motivated coaches have many opportunities for advancement available to them.

Coaches who have obtained the correct certification can apply for such positions as:

  • Club Head or Assistant/Associate Coach at Provincial Games - Provincial Games happen on a 2 year cycle; with Winter & Summer alternating
  • Training Coach for athletes travelling to National Games
  • Provincial Team Coach / Mission Staff at National Games
  • National Team Coach / Mission Staff at World Games

For more information on coach and volunteer positions please contact our Program Director.


Operational and other Volunteer Roles

Operational Volunteer / Club Executive Member

*Each community club may vary slightly.  

Special Olympics is a volunteer-driven organization and as such needs many hands to ensure the success of each and every program.

 While the majority of volunteers join Special Olympics through a coaching role; there are many administrative roles needed to ensure Special Olympics not only exists in a community but thrives!

 Operational Volunteers are those people that may or may not have a direct hand in working with our athletes but without whom clubs and programs could not exist.

 Operational Volunteers include those who take an active role on a club committee:
 Club Coordinator
 Program Coordinator
 Club Registrar
 Fundraising Director
 Social Activities Director
 Coaches Representative
 Parent Representative

 Volunteers who hold these positions are always eager for help and assistance. You may be able to help out at a dance, or a fundraiser; you could even help out as a program manager of program - assisting the head club with the administrative side of running a sports program.

Event Volunteers are needed at various times throughout the year all across our province. Event Volunteers are typically those who help out at a sporting event - as an official, timer, referee, canteen supervisor, water delivery, score keeper, marshaller, medal marshaller, and any number of other needed roles!

There are many ways to contribute to Special Olympics and each is valued and appreciated!



  • Liaise with the Provincial Office.
  • Time commitment of two years.
  • Coordinate efforts of the Committee.
  • Prepare meeting agendas with consultation for Committee Members.
  • Chair committee meetings and AGM.
  • Act as a spokesperson.
  • Be one of three signing authorities.
  • To coordinate and assist with fundraising efforts. 


  • Act in absence of the Club Coordinator  
  • Time commitment of two years. 
  • Perform other duties that may be appointed by the Committee. 
  • Be one of three signing authorities. 
  • To assist with fundraising efforts. 


  • Responsible to the Committee. 
  • Liaise with the Club Coordinator 
  • Time commitment of two years. 
  • Keep financial records. 
  • Submit financial statement to Newfoundland and Labrador Special Olympics Year End Report. 
  • Report to the Committee on the financial status on a regular basis. 
  • Make deposits and write cheques as required. 
  • Develop a budget to be used as a guideline for fund raising activities. 


  • Responsible to the Committee. 
  • Time commitment of two years. 
  • Record minutes at all meetings. 
  • Receive, answer, and file all correspondence. 
  • Maintain an updated mailing list for all volunteers and athletes. 
  • Assist other Committee Members as necessary. 


  • Responsible to the Committee. 
  • Time commitment two years. 
  • Liaise with Chairperson and other Committee Members. 
  • To attend all meetings and to bring the Athlete’s perspective to all discussions. 
  • To assist in fundraising efforts. 


  • Responsible to the Committee. 
  • Time commitment of two years. 
  • Represent Coaches at all meetings. 
  • Available as a resource person to other Coaches. 
  • Report on Program progress at Committee meetings. 
  • Receive requests from potential athletes and direct them to appropriate programs. 
  • Ensure all Athletes and Coaches are registered with NLSO. 
  • Maintain an updated mailing list of all Athletes. 
  • To assist in fundraising efforts. 


  • Perform tasks as required. 
  • Time commitment two years. 
  • To coordinate the needs, wants and involvement of parents with the Committee. 
  • Encourage family involvement. 
  • Coordinate parent/family meetings and workshops as needed. 
  • Establish a communication plan. 
  • To assist in fundraising efforts. 


  • Coordinate all fundraising efforts of the Club. 
  • Time commitment of two years. 


  • Ensure all registration forms by Athletes and Volunteers are completed and submitted to Provincial Office and assist with Online Portal Registration. 
  • Assist with completing registration forms for all competitions. 
  • Ensure all Head Coaches receive copies of contact information and medical information for all Athletes participating in their program.  
  • Time commitment of two years. 


  • Coordinate the planning of social activities for the Athletes, Coaches and Volunteers throughout the year. 
  • Time commitment of two years. 



Athlete Leadership Mentor

Check back soon for more details.

Organizing Committee Member

Check back soon for more details.


To learn more about becoming a volunteer with us please contact our Membership Services Coordinator.