Local Programs

What training and paperwork is required to become a coach?

All coaches must:

  • Complete Local Program Volunteer requirements.
  • Complete one of the following concussion awareness training courses. Certificate of Completion must be sent to Kelsey Sullivan. Training is valid for three years.
  • Complete in-person Sports Specific Training Course (one per sport) within 24 months of completing LPV application or by January 1, 2022 (whichever is later). Sport Specific Certificate is valid for three years.
    • Course description: A sport centered, athlete-focused, coach and volunteer-driven approach resulting in the improvement of the lives of Special Olympics New Hampshire athletes. The training session will involve critical elements/modules to help you be a more knowledgeable coach. This training is universal to all sports and will include fun, sport-specific exercises and is designed to be taken prior to sport specific training.  
    • Please note that if you coach multiple sports you only need to take The Foundation course once.
  • Complete in-person Sports Specific Training Course (one per sport) within 24 months of completing LPV application of by January 1, 2022 (whichever is later).  Sport Specific Certificate is valid for three years.
    • During sport-specific training, coaches will have the opportunity to work with experienced clinicians and directly experience a model practice which allows them to better understand what challenges athletes face and how skills can be applied in competition. They will also leave with written practice plans for their sports season and it’s a great opportunity for networking with other coaches for other Local Programs before the upcoming season.  
    • Each Sport Specific Training will be one day in length. Sport Specific Training will be offered by sport and will follow the frequency listed below:
      • If a sport has fewer than 100 athletes statewide – Sport Specific Training will be offered at least one time a year.
      • If a sport has greater than 100 athletes statewide – Sport Specific Training will be offered at least twice a year.
What training and paperwork are required to become a Unified Partner® or Local Program Volunteer?

To become a Unified Sports® Partner or Local Program Volunteer, you must complete:

  • The Local Program Volunteer and Unified Partner Application every three years and send to Kelsey Sullivan.
    • If you would like to be a Unified Sports® partner, please be sure to check the box in Section E that says “I would like to participate as a partner in Unified Sports® with Special Olympics New Hampshire.”
  • A background check (required only if you are 18+) every three years
    • If you answered NO to all four questions in Section A of the LPV Application:
    • If you answered YES to any of the questions in Section A of the LPV Application:
What is the Local Program Volunteer Policy?

Screening

Every Local Program Volunteer (LPV) prior to beginning with Special Olympics New Hampshire (SONH) is required to fill out a Local Program Volunteer Application.

SONH requires a background check on all adult Local Program Volunteers.

Volunteer applicants are automatically disqualified from providing services, with no appeals process if their background includes a conviction for:

  • Child abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Causing a child’s death
  • Neglect of a child or any other individual for whom the potential volunteer had/has responsibility
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Felony assault
  • Arson
  • Criminal sexual conduct
  • Identity theft

Notwithstanding the above list of offenses, SONH reserves the right to disqualify any volunteer applicant from providing services for any reason or no reason whatsoever.

Convictions for DWI/DUI or comparable offenses or three or more moving violations within the past three years will disqualify the volunteer from driving on behalf of Special Olympics.

SONH will notify the applicant involved and the Local Program Volunteer if a background check requires clarification.  

The final decision of an applicant’s volunteer status shall be determined by the President & CEO.

Cancellation

If a Local Program has a Local Program Volunteer who cancels at the last minute, and they do not have a certified replacement, the Local Program Volunteer has the discretion to fill the position. The fill-in volunteer must bring a signed Local Program Volunteer Application, take Protective Behaviors and complete their background check by the day of the competition.

Exit

Local Program Coordinators will inform Special Olympics if a volunteer, athlete or family member, etc. is relieved of their duties or is asked to leave the Local Program as soon as possible.

What is the housing policy?

Special Olympics New Hampshire is an athlete-centered movement that welcomes athletes with intellectual disabilities, as well as Unified Sports® partners, of all abilities to participate in sports training and competition.

During the course of participation in Special Olympics, all athletes may have the opportunity to attend events that include housing in hotels, motels, dorms or other housing facilities that require room sharing.

In order to provide for the health and safety of all Special Olympics participants, and promote a safe and positive experience, the following policy has been adopted to give guidance for housing athletes, coaches and/or LPVs at all Special Olympics New Hampshire events.

Please note that the terms “Special Olympics athlete” and “athlete” refer to persons with intellectual disabilities. The term “volunteer” includes Unified Partners.

When housing athletes at official Special Olympics New Hampshire events, or on sanctioned trips that may or may not involve event activities, the following minimum requirements must be met:

Gender

Athletes and volunteers may not share a room with an athlete or volunteer of the opposite sex. The following exceptions, however, may be allowed if determined to be feasible, i.e., space is available and cost is not a factor.

  • Married athletes who are both attending the event as members of a registered delegation. This exception does not apply to the spouse of an athlete who is not participating in the event, but attending solely as a spectator.
  • Married volunteers who are both attending the event as members of a registered Local Program. This exception does not apply if one of the volunteers is required to share a room with an athlete (other than the married couple’s child) if this scenario will create a situation whereby an athlete is housed with a volunteer of the opposite sex.
  • Family members of the opposite sex who serve as a one-to-one chaperone for the related athlete.
  • Housing in a facility that has multiple private rooms in addition to living space (such as a condominium or dormitory). Both males and females may be assigned to one condominium, if necessary, but private rooms may not be shared by individuals of the opposite sex.  Chaperones must also be housed in the condominium and the chaperone/athlete ratio (as outlined in the supervision section of the policy) must be maintained.
  • Use of barracks or another facility (such as a gym) where a large number of individuals are assigned to one room. Athletes and volunteers must be separated as much as possible by gender (for example, females on one side of the gym and males on the other side).

Supervision

The LPV/athlete ratio of at least one properly registered LPV to every four athletes must be maintained during overnight events.  Proper supervision can be maintained without having a chaperone present in the room at all times. All LPVs must be compliant.

Young Athletes

Young Athletes® events that involve overnight activities require increased supervision and therefore, Young Athletes participants must be accompanied by a properly registered and screened parent, guardian or an individual designated by a parent or guardian at all overnight activities.  Rooming assignments for Young Athletes should be separate from the remainder of the Local Program, whenever possible (for example, separate hotel rooms).

Implementation of Policy

In all cases, the responsibility for implementing this policy shall be the responsibility of the Local Program, whether at an in-state or out-of-state event.

What is the Concussion Awareness & Safety Recognition Policy?

OBJECTIVE

It is Special Olympics’ intent to take steps to help ensure the health and safety of all Special Olympics participants. All Special Olympics participants should remember that safety comes first and should take reasonable steps to help minimize the risks for a concussion or other serious brain injuries.  

DEFINING A CONCUSSION

A concussion is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head as well as serial, cumulative hits to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth—causing the brain to bounce around or twist within the skull. Although concussions are usually not life-threatening, their effects can be serious and therefore proper attention must be paid to individuals suspected of sustaining a concussion.

SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED CONCUSSION

Effective January 1, 2015, a participant who is suspected of sustaining a concussion in a practice, game or competition shall be removed from practice, play or competition at that time. If a qualified medical professional is available on-site to render an evaluation, that person shall have final authority as to whether or not a concussion is suspected. If applicable, the participant’s parent or guardian should be made aware that the participant is suspected of sustaining a concussion.

RETURN TO PLAY

A participant who has been removed from practice, play or competition due to a suspected concussion may not participate in Special Olympics sports activities until either of the following occurs:

  • At least seven (7) consecutive days have passed since the participant was removed from play and a currently licensed, qualified medical professional provides written clearance for the participant to return to practice, play and competition.
  • A currently licensed, qualified medical professional determines that the participant did not suffer a concussion and provides written clearance for the participant to return to practice play immediately.  

Written clearance in either of the scenarios above shall become a permanent record.

REQUIRED TRAINING

All Coaches are required to complete one of the following concussion awareness training courses:  

Certificate of Completion must be sent to Kelsey Sullivan.

FREQUENCY OF TRAINING

Concussion awareness training must be completed by all Coaches at least once every three years.

What is the coaches code of conduct?

All Special Olympics New Hampshire coaches must abide by the following Code of Conduct.  If a coach violates this Code of Conduct, he/she will be subject to a range of consequences, up to and including being prohibited from coaching with Special Olympics.

Respect for Others

  • I will respect the rights, dignity and worth of athletes, coaches, other volunteers, friends and spectators in Special Olympics.
  • I will treat everyone equally regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion or ability.
  • I will be a positive role model for the athletes I coach.

Ensure a Positive Experience

  • I will ensure that for each athlete I coach, the time spent with Special Olympics is positive.
  • I will respect the talent, developmental stage and goals of each athlete.
  • I will ensure each athlete competes in events that challenge that athlete’s potential and are appropriate to that athlete’s ability.
  • I will be fair, considerate and honest with athletes and communicate with athletes using simple, clear language.
  • I will ensure that accurate scores are provided for entry of an athlete into any event.
  • I will instruct each athlete to perform to the best of the athlete’s ability at all preliminary competition and finals competition in accordance with the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules.

Act Professionally and Take Responsibility for My Actions

  • My language, manner, punctuality, preparation and presentation will demonstrate high standards.
  • I will display control, respect, dignity and professionalism to all involved in the sport (athletes, coaches, opponents, officials, administrators, parents, spectators, media, etc.).
  • I will encourage athletes to demonstrate the same qualities.
  • I will not drink alcohol, smoke or take illegal drugs while representing Special Olympics at training sessions or during competition.
  • I will refrain from any form of personal abuse towards athletes and others, including verbal, physical and emotional abuse.
  • I will be alert to any form of abuse from other sources directed toward athletes in my care.

Quality Service to the Athletes

  • I will seek continual improvement through performance evaluation and ongoing coaches education.
  • I will be knowledgeable about the Sports Rules and skills of the sport(s) I coach.
  • I will provide a planned training program.
  • I will keep copies of the medical, training, and competition records for each athlete I coach.
  • I will follow the Special Olympics, the International Federation and the National Federation/Governing Body rules for my sport(s).

Health & Safety of the Athletes

  • I will ensure that the equipment and facilities are safe to use.
  • I will ensure that the equipment, rules, training and the environment are appropriate for the age and ability of the athletes.
  • I will review each athlete’s medical form and be aware of any limitations on that athlete’s participation noted on that form.
  • I will encourage athletes to seek medical advice when required.
  • I will maintain the same interest and support towards sick and injured athletes.
  • I will allow further participation in training and competition only when appropriate.
What is Community Based Programming?

Each Local Program needs to determine the structure that best fits its needs, so it may provide a high-quality comprehensive Special Olympics experience for our athletes and their families.

With that being said, after much discussion with our stakeholders (athletes, families and volunteers), our recommended structure is a comprehensive Local Program that provides Special Olympics opportunities for athletes in a geographic area for their lifetime. Our Leadership model supports this transition.  An example may be Dover – there would be one LP for Dover (or greater Dover if appropriate). In addition to traditional Special Olympics activities, the Dover Special Olympics Local Program would:

  • Offer Young Athletes® to meet the needs of kids with and without intellectual disabilities from two to seven and a half.
  • Through the schools, offer Unified Champion Schools programming which includes:
    • Unified Champion Middle Schools
    • Unified Champion High Schools
  • Outside of the school year or after school, an athlete would have an opportunity to select from one of multiple sports offered each season within the offerings of the Local Program.

This structure allows the Special Olympics Local Program to support an athlete through his/her lifetime!

What is Agon?

Agon, named after the Greek god of competition, is an online tool used by our Local Programs to register for competitive events.  They are also able to login and view the information in real time about their athletes, coaches, volunteers and net funds.

Please refer to the Local Program Technology User Guide for click-by-click instruction to navigate through Agon.

What happens if someone gets hurt?

If an athlete, volunteer or spectator is injured during any Special Olympics activity, you must complete a First Report of Accident & Incident and return it to the SONH office as soon possible after the incident.  

We recommend each Local Program has printed out copies of the form on hand at all practices and events in case an accident or incident occurs.  The person filling out the form must notify their Local Program Coordinator of the incident and notify Mary Conroy or Chelsea Gill.

What are Net Funds?

All funds raised in the name of Special Olympics are the legal responsibility of Special Olympics New Hampshire and its Board of Directors. SONH allows Local Programs to raise and use funds for designated pre-approved expenses.  

We keep a tally of all funds raised, expenses and assessments for each Local Program through a Net Funds Report. Every Local Program may access their Net Funds Report in real time through Agon.

A few important items to note:

  • Local Programs may not have a bank account.
  • Local Programs may not charge athletes, their families or providers for participation in Special Olympics.
  • Any Local Program expense of $1,000 or more must have prior approval by Chelsea Gill prior to expenditure.  
What are Local Program assessments?

There is no cost for athletes to participate in Special Olympics New Hampshire.  Local Programs are assessed to share the costs associated with state competitive games (50/50).  Annually SONH will review finances from the previous year to determine assessment costs for the upcoming year.

Assessments rates are calculated as follows:
Assessment Rate = (Total Games Cost /2) /# of Athletes & LPVS

Assessment rates for 2019 (based on 2017 actuals) are outlined below:

GamesAssessment Rate (per person)Housing Rate (per bed per night)
State Winter Games$90$25
State Basketball Tournament$40N/A
State Summer Games$75$32
State Golf Tournament (5 holes)$40N/A
State Golf Tournament (9 holes)$50N/A
State Golf Tournament (18 holes)$60N/A
State Softball Tournament$0N/A
State Bowling Tournament$30N/A

Housing

Housing is a pass-through cost to Local Programs.  SONH will assess a Local Program at a rate equal to the cost associated with booking the accommodations.  Rates for 2019 are listed in the table above.

Please note that only registered athletes and LPVs may stay in Games housing assigned through Agon. Family housing is available in separate locations as needed.

Please note that at Winter Games you will be assessed for any empty beds in a room in addition to beds that are occupied.

Family Housing is available for Summer Games and Winter Games separate from athletes and registered LPV’s.  Local Programs can choose to pay for family housing or require families to pay for their own housing.

New Credits

Funds raised by the New Hampshire Law Enforcement community through the Law Enforcement Torch Run are used to cover the assessments (and if applicable, housing costs) associated with new Local Programs and new athletes during their first year of participation.

Assessments will be waived for:

  • An athlete that is participating in Special Olympics for the first time.
  • An athlete that is participating in a sport for the first time.
  • A Local Program that is participating for the first time.

Assessments will not be waived for:

  • A Local Program that is participating for the first time, but is comprised of athletes and LPVs from existing Local Programs (i.e. merged Local Programs or break-off Local Programs)
  • An athlete that is participating with a different Local Program for the first time.
I’m already a coach, do I really need to complete all of the coaching requirements?

The Coaches Course Exemption Application is available for coaches who have a proven record of involvement as a coach. Coaches will fill out the application, and we will review their coaching experience, current certifications or licenses held, and ongoing coach’s education, to determine if they are qualified for course exemption.  If you think you have the skills and qualifications to be a certified coach without taking one or all of the courses, please complete the Coaches Course Exemption Application and send to Chelsea Gill for review.

How should we manage our Net Funds?

Best practice for managing your Net Funds is to review your report on a monthly basis. Look at all transactions over the last month. In Agon, the Net Funds Report defaults to the past 30 days, use the filter button to change the date range.

If there is a question or you suspect an error on your Net Funds Report, please complete the dispute form. We will research the issue and follow up with you once a resolution has been made.

Please note that disputes should be reported as soon as possible. After three months, disputes will not be accepted.

How many volunteers should our Local Program have?

Local Programs shall provide for adequate supervision and coaching for all athletes. For competition activities, a minimum ratio of four athletes-to-one LPV and/or coach (4:1 athlete-to-LPV/Coach ratio) is expected. Please note, for Unified Events, (i.e. basketball/softball, etc. partners do not count toward this ratio, volunteer should be a non-playing LPV).

How do we use money in our Net Funds?

To access your net funds, please submit a withdrawal form along with applicable invoices and/or receipts. Payment will be mailed based on the due date. Please allow a minimum of 21 business days for processing.

How do we track in-kind donations?

In-kind donations are goods or services that are budget relieving and/or value added. If, for example, a facility waives its rental fee, that is an in-kind donation. It is important that we track all in-kind donations so that the donors can be acknowledged, and we have a full picture of the funds needed to run our organization.

Please use the in-kind form to capture all your Local Programs in-kind donations.

How do we request a Certificate of Insurance?

If you are asked to provide a Certificate of Insurance, please fill out the Request for Certificate of Insurance Form. Please allow two weeks to receive your certificate.

When completing the form, please note the following:

  • Requests for Certificate of Insurance should only be made if you have been requested to provide one.
  • Date of the Event(s): Various dates in July and August is an acceptable answer for practices.
  • Additional Insured status: Only request “Additional Insured” if you are asked to by the company letting you use the space.
    • See attached (with an attached contract or agreement) should be used whenever possible to describe additional insured wording.
  • If we are required to sign any contract, agree to any rules or enter into a facility use agreement (with or without hold harmless language), please include a copy with your request and refer to our contract policy.
    • Remember that all contracts must be signed by Mary Conroy.
How do we deposit money into our Net Funds?

Funds raised by or donated to a Local Program or Area must be submitted to the SONH office for deposit with a completed deposit form. Deposits will be processed in three to five days of receipt. A thank you will be sent to all donors and a copy will be provided to the Local Program Coordinator.

CHECKS

Checks should be made payable to Special Olympics New Hampshire. The Local Program’s name should be written in the memo section to ensure proper designation.

CREDIT CARDS

Local Programs can create a page to accept donations via First Giving.  Any donations received through the page are credited 100% to your program, as will any transactions fees not covered by donors.  Funds are credited to your account when we receive them (which is typically about 1-2 weeks after donations are made online).

Creating the page is pretty simple. Click here, choose start fundraising then create fundraiser (at the very bottom of the event list). Create (or log into) a first giving account. Select Special Olympics New Hampshire (Manchester, NH) as the nonprofit then follow the prompts to create a page. We recommend naming that page your local program’s name and when setting the end date for the page put something far in the future so that the link won’t expire and you can keep encouraging folks to donate through that page.

Can we use a 15 passenger van?

No. No Local Program may rent or use a 15 passenger van.

Can our Local Program wear face paint?

No. Special Olympics athletes, coaches and volunteers shall not paint their faces during competitions, Games, opening and closing ceremonies, at awards venues or victory banquets. This prohibition includes a prohibition against a display of commercial messages and the display of national flags painted on the face.

Can our Local Program sign a contract?

No. Contracts may only be signed by Mary Conroy, President & CEO. Volunteers may not sign contracts on behalf of their Local Program or Special Olympics New Hampshire. SONH has no responsibility for contracts signed by volunteers.

Local Programs and Areas may not enter into verbal or written agreements or contracts with any company or individual to provide services or products of any kind.

All contracts should be sent to Chelsea Gill who will review, have signed by Mary Conroy and return to you.

Can our Local Program charge fees?

No. Special Olympics may not require athletes or their families to pay or promise to pay any type of admission, registration, training, participation, or competition fee, or any other fee or charge of any type as a condition for admission to any Special Olympics event or activity, or as a fee for the athletes’ participation in any Special Olympics competition. The preceding sentence does not prohibit Special Olympics from charging fees to its Local Programs.

Volunteering

Who can volunteer?

Individuals, groups, families… anyone can volunteer!  Volunteers ages 14 and younger are welcome but must be accompanied by a parent or adult volunteer.

What is the volunteer code of conduct?

All Special Olympics New Hampshire volunteers must abide by the following Code of Conduct. If a volunteer violates this Code of Conduct, he/she will be subject to a range of consequences, up to and including being prohibited from volunteering with Special Olympics.

  • Behave in a manner consistent with Special Olympics core values of mutual respect, integrity, positive attitude, accountability, teamwork and dedication.
  • Provide for the general welfare, health and safety of all Special Olympics New Hampshire athletes and volunteers.
  • Dress and act in an appropriate manner at all times.
  • Follow the established rules and guidelines of Special Olympics New Hampshire, Inc., Special Olympics, Inc. and/or any agency involved with Special Olympics New Hampshire.
  • Report any emergencies to the appropriate authorities after first taking immediate action to ensure the health and safety of the participants.
  • While in the proximity of athletes involved with any Special Olympics New Hampshire event, competition or training school, abstain from the consumption or use of all alcohol, tobacco products and illegal substances.
  • Do not engage in any inappropriate contact or relationship with athletes, volunteers or other participants of Special Olympics New Hampshire.
What does a volunteer do?

You name it, they do it! Special Olympics New Hampshire is a volunteer-driven organization, which means that we need volunteers for just about everything. Volunteers can assist at sports competitions, coach athletes, help with fundraising, coordinate events, give office support, serve on teams in their local program and so much more!

How do I volunteer with Special Olympics New Hampshire?

Volunteers are the backbone of Special Olympics New Hampshire. 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. To find out about all of the volunteer opportunities available, visit our Volunteer page.

Can volunteers date Special Olympics athletes?

Among the Special Olympics movement’s highest priorities is the well-being of, and respect for the dignity of, Special Olympics athletes*. The purpose of this policy is to make clear Special Olympics policy on volunteers* dating Special Olympics athletes and to protect all participants in the Special Olympics movement, including athletes, coaches and staff, as well as Special Olympics organizations around the world.

Special Olympics prohibits any Special Olympics volunteer (excluding spouses of athletes and athletes who are one-day volunteers) from dating or having a sexual relationship with any Special Olympics athlete. In the event that Special Olympics New Hampshire learns of any dating or sexual relationship, the organization immediately shall require either:

  • That the volunteer end his or her association with Special Olympics; OR
  • That the association between the volunteer and Special Olympics be terminated.

In the case of a Special Olympics athlete who is also a volunteer, Mary Conroy, President will evaluate the circumstances on a case-by-case basis and determine if an authority relationship exists between the volunteer athlete and the competing athlete. If it is determined that there is such a relationship, then apply the above policy in the same manner as the policy is applied to non-athlete volunteers.

Special Olympics respects the right of athletes to have the full range of human relationships available to other human beings. This policy shall not be interpreted as a limitation on the rights of athletes, but only as a restriction on Special Olympics volunteers.

If you hear about, suspect or have knowledge of a breach to this policy, it must be reported immediately to Mary Conroy, President at (603) 770-4055.

*The terms “Special Olympics athlete” and “athlete” refer to persons with intellectual disabilities. The term “volunteer” includes Unified Partners.

Donating

Will Special Olympics accept a matching gift from my company?

You can double or triple your support of Special Olympics athletes through your company’s matching gift program. Visit your personnel office to ask if they match charitable donations, obtain a matching gift form, fill it out completely and mail it along with your contribution to:

Special Olympics New Hampshire
650 Elm Street, 2nd Floor
Manchester, NH 03101

Will I get a receipt for my donation?

Yes. When you make your donation online, you will see a confirmation page and receive an email confirmation, either one of which may be used as an official receipt (sometimes you may have to check your Junk folder to retrieve the receipt). If you mail in your contribution, we will send you a confirmation letter or postcard which you can expect within 2-3 weeks of your contribution. If you have any questions, about your receipt, please contact Jessica Marchant.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Special Olympics New Hampshire, Inc. is recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Most donations are 100% tax-deductible (exceptions include donations where you receive something for your gift, like admission to a ticketed event or purchase of an auction item).  Our Federal Tax ID number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 23-7207522. Donations made outside the United States may not be tax deductible.

How do I donate to Special Olympics New Hampshire?

Your contribution, big or small, will allow us to continue serving athletes throughout New Hampshire. Visit our Ways to Give page to find out what option works best for you.

How can I be sure you are using my support wisely?

Special Olympics New Hampshire strives to operate as efficiently as possible. A significant portion of our revenue comes from a broad base of donors, $10 and $20 dollars at a time. Every contribution makes an important difference. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, more people with intellectual disabilities have a chance to participate and experience the transformative powers of sports. More than 85 percent of our expenditures go to supporting program activities – including supporting training and competition, developing education materials for our volunteer coaches, outreach to recruit more athletes, family support, and much more. Maintaining these high standards is a priority at Special Olympics New Hampshire.

Does Special Olympics offer planned giving?

Special Olympics offers a wide range of planned gift options for you to choose from including bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, and retirement assets. Making a planned gift to Special Olympics helps ensure our ability to respond to the challenges we will face in the future. To learn more about the various ways you can include Special Olympics as a part of your estate plan, click here.

Can I donate to Special Olympics through my Donor Advised Fund (DAF)?

Yes! A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving program that allows you to combine the most favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to support your favorite causes. Your financial advisor, or fund manager, can help you get started recommending a grant to Special Olympics New Hampshire. Your fund manager handles all record-keeping, disbursements, and tax receipts.

Torch Run

What is the Law Enforcement Torch Run?

The Law Enforcement Torch Run transforms communities by inspiring people to open their minds, to accept and include people with intellectual disabilities, celebrating differences among all people recognizing and respecting the similarities we all share. For athletes and officers alike, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is a story of success, love, respect and commitment between law enforcement officers and Special Olympic athletes.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas (USA) Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness for Special Olympics. Special Olympics New Hampshire would not be where we are today without the dedication and support from Law Enforcement Officials and Agencies around the state.

2019 marks our 35-year partnership with New Hampshire Law Enforcement agencies and officials. Since its inception, New Hampshire Law Enforcement has raised nearly $5.5 million and continue to be role models, mentors and friends to our 2,965 athletes. Our goal in 2019 is for the Flame of Hope to travel 550 miles throughout New Hampshire culminating in Durham to kick off the 50th State Summer Games at The University of New Hampshire.

What if the full run is too long for me?

No problem, you can still join in on the fun! There will be transportation along the run that will allow runners to get off and on as they please throughout the route.

I’m not Law Enforcement, can I run?

Yes! The Torch Run is open to anyone!

How old do you have to be to participate?

There is no minimum age requirement to participate in the Torch Run. We do require that anyone 17 years of age or younger have a parent or guardian sign the waiver form.

How can I become a runner?

Details about each leg of this year’s Torch Run are listed here. Find the leg nearest you and contact the person coordinating that leg to get started.

Does it cost anything to participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run?

No! There is no registration fee or fundraising requirement to participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Athlete

Who is eligible to participate in Special Olympics?

Every person with an intellectual disability who is at least two years of age is eligible to participate in Special Olympics.

What sports are offered?

We offer training and competition in seventeen sports:

What should I do if I suspect an athlete is being abused or neglected?

Among the Special Olympics movement’s highest priorities is the well-being of Special Olympics athletes. Allegations of abuse or neglect are very serious and must be dealt with promptly.  If an allegation of abuse or neglect is brought to your attention it must be immediately reported to the appropriate authorities.

  • For reports involving minors, you must contact the NH Department of Child, Youth, and Family Services at (800) 894-5533.  
  • For reports involving individuals over the age of 18, contact the NH Division of Elderly and Adult Services at (800) 322-9191.

When reporting the allegation, note the name and contact information of the person reporting the information to you as well as the name and contact information of the person you have given the information to.

Mary Conroy, President & CEO should be made aware of allegations by calling (603) 770-4055.  

What paperwork is required to become a Special Olympics New Hampshire athlete?

Every athlete must complete the appropriate application every three years:

Application for Participation Instructions:

Page 1: Basic Demographic and Health Information

This should be filled out by the athlete, parent, guardian or caretaker. If additional pages are needed to be submitted with medication or other health information, please ensure that the athlete’s name is on all additional pages.

Page 2: Medical Certification page.

In order to process an Athlete Application for Participation, page two of the application MUST be signed by a certified medical professional. An athlete’s compliance is based on the date of the medical professional’s signature.

A print out from the doctor’s office cannot be substituted for the signature on the SONH application because there is specific, Special Olympics related language in our form which makes it different than a print out or other type of release.

Page 3: Consent page

The third page of the application provides consent to participate in SONH events, consent to be treated medically should the need arise and consent to allow SONH (and/or our supporters) to use the athletes name and likeness to promote activities of Special Olympics, among other details.

Page 3 must be signed and dated by either the adult athlete that is his/her own guardian or the athlete’s guardian.  

What is the Young Athletes® program?

Special Olympics Young Athletes® is an early childhood sports play program for children aged two to seven years old.  Our young athletes learn basic sports skills like kicking and throwing a ball and playing with others. Children with and without intellectual disabilities play together.  Families also have the opportunity to get involved in the fun and connect with the Special Olympics community of support.

While young athletes play, they gain motor skills like balance, flexibility, strength and coordination. In fact, in a recent study, children with developmental delays who participated in a structured ten-week Young Athletes program showed significantly more motor development than those who did not participate. Not only that, but their teachers and parents also reported improved confidence, language skills and social skills. Another benefit was families played more together at home and in the community.

What is the Special Olympics athlete oath?

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

What is the parent/guardian code of conduct?

All Special Olympics New Hampshire parents/guardians must abide by the following Code of Conduct.  If a parent/guardian violates this Code of Conduct, he/she will be subject to a range of consequences, up to and including being prohibited from participating in Special Olympics.

  • I will let my athlete choose the sports in which he/she would like to participate. I will not force my choice upon him/her.
  • I will remember that athletes participate to have fun and that the game is for them, not the family members.
  • I (and my guests) will be positive role models for my athlete and encourage sportsmanship by showing respect and courtesy and by demonstrating positive support for all athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators at every game, practice or competition.
  • I will teach my athlete that doing one’s best is more important than winning so that my athlete will never feel defeated by the outcome of a game or his/her performance.
  • I will refrain from coaching my athlete, or other athletes, during competitions and practices if I am not the assigned coach.
What is the athlete code of conduct?

All Special Olympics New Hampshire athletes must abide by the following Code of Conduct.  If an athlete violates this Code of Conduct, he/she will be subject to a range of consequences, up to and including being prohibited from participating in Special Olympics.

  • Uphold the philosophy, principles and policies of Special Olympics, Inc. and Special Olympics New Hampshire.
  • Behave in a manner consistent with Special Olympics core values of mutual respect, integrity, positive attitude, accountability, teamwork and dedication.

SPORTSMANSHIP

  • I will practice good sportsmanship.
  • I will act in ways that bring respect to me, my coaches, my team and Special Olympics.
  • I will not use bad language.
  • I will not swear or insult others.
  • I will not fight with other athletes, coaches, volunteers or staff.

TRAINING AND COMPETITION

  • I will train regularly.
  • I will learn and follow the rules of my sport.
  • I will listen to my coaches and the officials and ask questions when I do not understand.
  • I will try my best during training, divisioning and competition.
  • I will not “hold back” in a preliminary competition just to get in an easier finals competition division.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY ACTIONS

  • I will not make inappropriate or unwanted physical, verbal, electronic or sexual advances on others.
  • I will not smoke in non-smoking areas.
  • I will not drink alcohol at Special Olympics competitions.
  • I will not use illegal drugs.
  • I will not take drugs for the purpose of improving my performance.
  • I will obey all laws and Special Olympics rules, the International Federation and the National Federation/Governing Body for my sport(s).
What is the Athlete Behavior Policy?

Participation of Athletes with Criminal Records, a History of Violent Behavior or Abusive Behavior:
A persons participation in Special Olympics as an athlete is an opportunity and privilege; it is not an entitlement. Special Olympics New Hampshire has the right and responsibility to protect the well-being and safety of all participants: athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff and spectators. Therefore, Special Olympics New Hampshire reserves the right to limit or exclude an individual’s participation in the program.

Special Olympics New Hampshire will evaluate each incident based on:

  • Type of offense/incident
  • Timing of offense/incident
  • Number of offenses
  • Capacity of athlete
  • Medication

Decisions may include:

  • Participation on a probationary period
  • Participation with a mandatory one on one volunteer
  • Require the athlete to attend counseling and/or anger management courses
  • Prohibit athlete from participation in overnight activities
  • Restrict the sport an athlete participates in
  • Suspend the athlete
  • Expel the athlete

Special Olympics New Hampshire is not obligated by law to permit a potential athlete with a criminal record or a history of violent or abusive behavior to participate.

Special Olympics New Hampshire will act prudently within its rights to expel or deny participation into our program.

The disciplinary action taken by Special Olympics New Hampshire shall be determined by Mary Conroy.

What is Special Olympics Unified Sports?

Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability. That makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.

What is Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools?

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.

This is accomplished by implementing inclusive sports, inclusive youth leadership opportunities, and whole school engagement. The program is designed to be woven into the fabric of the school, enhancing current efforts and providing rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change in creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all learners. What a Unified Champion School “looks like” can vary greatly from school to school, based on the needs, goals, schedules and other factors unique to each school; but the basic building blocks remain the same. Together we are creating a Unified Generation that Chooses to Include.

What is athlete leadership?

We are committed to developing and involving athletes as leaders. Athlete Leadership empowers athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices and abilities to undertake meaningful leadership roles, influence change in the Special Olympics movement and create inclusive communities around the world. As athletes gain the confidence that comes with achievement, they feel empowered and ready to take on new challenges to make use of all their abilities.

Special Olympics Athlete Leadership allows athletes to explore opportunities for greater participation in our movement beyond sports training and competition.  This year, SONH will not only focus on increasing the number of athletes trained as Global Messengers but also provide opportunities for athletes to become voices of our movement, presenters and Input Council members.  Leadership roles give athletes a voice in shaping the Special Olympics movement and a chance to spread the word about the transformations Special Olympics can bring to individuals and families. The Athlete Leadership program also provides a way for athletes to showcase talents and interests that may have gone unnoticed, such as public speaking.

Special Olympics New Hampshire is very excited about our enhanced direction in Athlete Leadership.  Sport and non-sport opportunities will be offered so athletes can become leaders, have meaningful roles in many areas and contribute not only to their Local Programs but also to the organization and the movement.  In essence with appropriate training and encouragement, athletes can be prepared to serve at every level of our organization.

How much does it cost to be a Special Olympics athlete?

Special Olympics is free! The programs we offer are free for our competitors thanks to the generous support of individuals, corporations and foundations in our community.

How can I become a Special Olympics New Hampshire athlete?

Athletes are the heart of Special Olympics. Our athletes are children and adults with intellectual disabilities from across New Hampshire. They are finding success, joy and friendship as part of our community. They’re also having lots of fun!  Click here to find out more about how you can get started.

Can I participate in a sport that I don’t know how to play?

Absolutely! Special Olympics believes that everyone can benefit from being part of a team, no matter their skill level. Our coaches and volunteers will work with you during practices to teach you the skills you need to participate in the sport of choice.

General

Why use the term “Special”?

In the 1960s, when Special Olympics was founded, “retarded” was the acceptable term to describe people with intellectual disabilities. This was a time when people with intellectual disabilities were routinely institutionalized because their gifts and talents were not recognized.

That’s why Eunice Kennedy Shriver wanted to use language that was positive — language that would help set an upbeat tone. There were many conversations about words that could best describe an exceptional group of people. Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw the adjective “special” as a way to define the unique gifts of adults and children with intellectual disabilities. Starting with the very first Special Olympics International Games in 1968, she wanted to dwell on our athletes’ abilities, not disabilities.

Who was Eunice Kennedy Shriver?

Eunice Mary Kennedy (1921-2009) was born in Brookline, Mass., USA, the fifth of nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy. After graduating from college, she worked for the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., and later became a social worker at the Penitentiary for Women in Alderson, West Va. She later moved to Chicao, Ill., where she worked with the House of the Good Shepherd and the Chicago Juvenile Court.

Starting in the 1950s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver pushed for research and programs that would benefit people with intellectual disabilities. She was the driving force behind President John F. Kennedy’s White House panel on people with intellectual disabilities. For this neglected population, Shriver said, “the years of indifference and neglect, the years of callous cynicsm and entrenched prejudice are drawing to a close. The years of research and experiment…are upon us now with all their promise and challenge.”

She continued this pioneering work as director of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. In 1962, she began an experimental camp in her backyard for young people with intellectual disabilities, which continued throughout the 1960s. Her work eventually grew into the Special Olympics Movement, which launched at the first Special Olympics International Games on July 20, 1968.

Where is the Special Olympics New Hampshire office and when is it open?

Our office is located on the second floor at 650 Elm Street in Manchester.  We’d love to see you! If you would like to visit us at the office, you can park in the garage adjacent to our building.  Bring your parking ticket with you and we will validate it.

Our office is generally open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. We are closed on Fridays in July and August. Our office is typically closed during major events such as Penguin Plunge, Winter Games, and Summer Games, see Events Calendar for event dates.  

Where can I find upcoming events?

Please visit our Events Calendar to view all of the upcoming Special Olympics New Hampshire events.

What sports are offered?

We offer training and competition in seventeen sports:

What should I do if I suspect an athlete is being abused or neglected?

Among the Special Olympics movement’s highest priorities is the well-being of Special Olympics athletes. Allegations of abuse or neglect are very serious and must be dealt with promptly.  If an allegation of abuse or neglect is brought to your attention it must be immediately reported to the appropriate authorities.

  • For reports involving minors, you must contact the NH Department of Child, Youth, and Family Services at (800) 894-5533.  
  • For reports involving individuals over the age of 18, contact the NH Division of Elderly and Adult Services at (800) 322-9191.

When reporting the allegation, note the name and contact information of the person reporting the information to you as well as the name and contact information of the person you have given the information to.

Mary Conroy, President & CEO should be made aware of allegations by calling (603) 770-4055.  

What is your phone number?

Our phone number is (603) 624-1250 or (800) 639-2608.  If you get our automated system when our office is open, feel free to press 0 to speak to an attendant.  When the office is closed, there is a general voice mailbox that is checked daily or you can leave a message with the person you wish to speak with by dialing their extension.

What is your fax number?

Our fax number is (603) 624-4911. Faxes are received electronically via email. They are distributed twice daily to the staff. If you send an urgent fax, please feel free to call our office and let us know. We will check that the fax was received and forward along immediately.

What is your email address?

Our general email address is SpecialOlympics@sonh.org. Emails sent to this address are checked daily.  You can also email the staff directly.

What is the Young Athletes® program?

Special Olympics Young Athletes® is an early childhood sports play program for children aged two to seven years old.  Our young athletes learn basic sports skills like kicking and throwing a ball and playing with others. Children with and without intellectual disabilities play together.  Families also have the opportunity to get involved in the fun and connect with the Special Olympics community of support.

While young athletes play, they gain motor skills like balance, flexibility, strength and coordination. In fact, in a recent study, children with developmental delays who participated in a structured ten-week Young Athletes program showed significantly more motor development than those who did not participate. Not only that, but their teachers and parents also reported improved confidence, language skills and social skills. Another benefit was families played more together at home and in the community.

What is the spectator code of conduct?

All Special Olympics New Hampshire spectators must abide by the following Code of Conduct. If a spectator violates this Code of Conduct, he/she will be subject to a range of consequences, up to and including being prohibited from attending Special Olympics events and practices.  

  • Lead by positive example. Display good sportsmanship.
  • Let the coaches’ coach the players – refrain from shouting instructions.
  • Provide general cheers or positive comments after the play.
What is the Special Olympics athlete oath?

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

What is Special Olympics Unified Sports?

Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability. That makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.

What is Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools?

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.

This is accomplished by implementing inclusive sports, inclusive youth leadership opportunities, and whole school engagement. The program is designed to be woven into the fabric of the school, enhancing current efforts and providing rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change in creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all learners. What a Unified Champion School “looks like” can vary greatly from school to school, based on the needs, goals, schedules and other factors unique to each school; but the basic building blocks remain the same. Together we are creating a Unified Generation that Chooses to Include.

What is Special Olympics New Hampshire’s mission?

The mission of Special Olympics New Hampshire is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

What is divisioning?

In Special Olympics competitions, athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate, and every athlete is recognized for his or her performance. Through a process called divisioning, Special Olympics competitions are structured so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar ability in equitable divisions.  When there are enough entrants in an event age and gender are also used to create divisions. This makes for exciting competitions!

What is athlete leadership?

We are committed to developing and involving athletes as leaders. Athlete Leadership empowers athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices and abilities to undertake meaningful leadership roles, influence change in the Special Olympics movement and create inclusive communities around the world. As athletes gain the confidence that comes with achievement, they feel empowered and ready to take on new challenges to make use of all their abilities.

Special Olympics Athlete Leadership allows athletes to explore opportunities for greater participation in our movement beyond sports training and competition.  This year, SONH will not only focus on increasing the number of athletes trained as Global Messengers but also provide opportunities for athletes to become voices of our movement, presenters and Input Council members.  Leadership roles give athletes a voice in shaping the Special Olympics movement and a chance to spread the word about the transformations Special Olympics can bring to individuals and families. The Athlete Leadership program also provides a way for athletes to showcase talents and interests that may have gone unnoticed, such as public speaking.

Special Olympics New Hampshire is very excited about our enhanced direction in Athlete Leadership.  Sport and non-sport opportunities will be offered so athletes can become leaders, have meaningful roles in many areas and contribute not only to their Local Programs but also to the organization and the movement.  In essence with appropriate training and encouragement, athletes can be prepared to serve at every level of our organization.

What does the Special Olympics logo signify?

The Special Olympics logo depicts five figures in a unifying circle, symbolizing our global presence.

The figures have arms in a lowered position, recalling the time when many people were unaware of the talents and abilities of adults and children with intellectual disabilities — a time before the founding of Special Olympics.

The straight arms describe greater equality and outreach. The raised arms represent “joy”, and continued realization of ultimate goals.

I have sports trophies – can I donate them to Special Olympics?

Special Olympics athletes receive new, specially designed medals or ribbons as competition awards. We do not accept donated trophies.

How many people are involved in Special Olympics New Hampshire?

There are 2,965 athletes with intellectual disabilities involved in Special Olympics programs throughout New Hampshire. In addition, we have more than 5,000 coaches and volunteers. We have 68 local programs and 78 school-based programs.

Can I smoke at Special Olympics events?

No. Smoking and use of other tobacco products are not allowed at any SONH events.