Special Olympics looking for coaches

Special Olympics Yukon is looking for volunteer coaches for swimming and athletics so it can continue providing as many sporting opportunities as…

Special Olympics Yukon is looking for volunteer coaches for swimming and athletics so it can continue providing as many sporting opportunities as possible to Yukon athletes.

“We’re not finding the volunteer base we need,” said Danielle Armstrong, program director of Special Olympics Yukon. “We had quite a few from last year say they were not going to be returning.

“Transient population, stuff going on, high burnout,” added Armstrong, listing some reasons she feels coach numbers have dropped this year.

“It’s just one of those years, where we’re getting stumped in a few sports.”

One to two coaches are required for athletics, which is a collection of track-and-field events.

With three swimming coaches returning, the Special Olympics want two more coaches to conduct its three swimming programs.

Other than general orientation, Special Olympics volunteers require no other training or experience.

“I will give them resources, explain how it’s being run,” said Armstrong. “Generally it’s up to the head coach to take the lead and sort of mentor and show them how the program will be run.

“It’s very general.”

Armstrong feels that people may be hesitant to volunteer, believing that the coaching positions will be too time consuming. However, the positions only require about one hour a week.

“They maybe think there’s more to it than that,” said Armstrong. “A bigger program like bowling is a two-hour program, but that is not a concern at this point.”

The programs start in the first week of October, but Special Olympics will be accepting coaches throughout the year.

Because of the dedication of the Special Olympics staff, even with a lack of coaches, it looks as if the programs will still run, but adjustments may have to be made.

 “We might have to blend two of our swim programs together, which is not ideal,” said Armstrong. “But to keep it running, that might have to happen.

“For athletics … we’ll figure something out, maybe move some coaches around, or be there ourselves until we can find a replacement.

“Canceling those programs is really the last resort,” said Armstrong. “We don’t want to limit all the choices and experiences for the athletes.”

If you are interested in becoming a coach for Special Olympics Yukon contact Armstrong at 668-6511 or at soyprograms@sportsyukon.com.

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