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First Step: Registering a Club

Before forming a new club

Determine whether there is a NEED

  • What (if any) Special Olympics activities are already taking place in or near your geographical area?
  • What specific sport and community needs the new Special Olympics club should help meet?

An ALTERNATIVE to consider:

  • Can existing clubs expand their programming to fulfill these additional needs instead (e.g., an existing club offering additional sports)?

Once the decision to establish a new club is made, FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

Red Checkmark

Step 1: Get support from the National/State Program

Contact Special Olympics Program office in your country/state.

National/State Program staff will be happy to work with you through the first steps of building your local club and will guide you through the registration process.
Red Pindrop

Step 2: Choose the right location

Choosing the right location of a Special Olympics club is critical to its success.

Athlete demand, availability of financial and human resources, and access to facilities need to be considered as part of the broader planning process.
Red pin on paper.

Step 3: Register the club

A local club must be registered with Special Olympics National or State Program. Once registered, a local club becomes part of the national or state delivery network. Registration gives the Club the right to use the Special Olympics logo, brand, and to participate in competitions.
A Club may be based in:

Community Sports Club

Existing community organization

Geographic community

School, university, college

Independent living facility

Putting it into Practice...

Get support from the National/State Program

Some Programs may have dedicated volunteers or staff who support local clubs (e.g., local sports coordinator)

Contact these people to discuss your plan and get guidance and advice. There may be additional requirements for registering a school-based club

Communication is the key. Invest time to learn about club registration requirements and process and collect all required material

Choose the right location

With the help of Special Olympics National or State Program consider the following questions when determining the location for a new club.


  • Is there data on the people with ID in your geographical area?


  • Are there enough potential volunteers to start and sustain the club?
  • Are there sufficient resources to offer Special Olympics activities? If not, will it be possible to find them?
  • Are there suitable sports facilities to host training in the sport(s) selected?


  • Is the proposed location of club activities convenient/safe for athletes/volunteers to access?
  • Are the proposed sporting facilities easily accessible for all members?
  • Are they accessible to people with different physical abilities?
Connect with existing Special Olympics clubs and sports clubs in your geographical area to get support, guidance and help build community connections


Start Special Olympics Camp Shriver Club

Start a School-based Special Olympics Club