When are the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games? 
The games will be held May 14 – 17, 2019.

What are the main elements and events and surrounding the games? 
The Law Enforcement Torch Run, Opening Ceremony, divisioning competition, round-robin competition, playoff competition, Unified Sport Competition, Healthy Athletes Program, Athlete Leadership Program, Youth Summit, Closing Ceremony, Medal Ceremony, and the final athlete dance.

What sports will be offered? 
Five sports will be offered: basketball, bocce, floor hockey, soccer, and track and field.

Where will the games take place? 
All events will take place in some of the best sport venues across the Greater Toronto Area. This includes University of Toronto’s Gold Ring Centre and Varsity Stadium, (Basketball, Bocce, Track and Field), Seneca College Newnham Campus Turf Field (Soccer), and the International Centre in Mississauga (Floor Hockey).

How many athletes will be competing? 
Over 2,500 student athletes from around the world will compete.

Are all of the events free and open to the public? 
Yes. All events are free of charge and completely open to any spectators. The opening ceremony will have free access, but tickets for this portion of the event may be distributed on a limited basis.

Are the games affiliated with the Olympics or Paralympics? 
No. Special Olympics, the Olympics and Paralympics are three separate entities, all recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They are all run by international non-profit organizations. Apart from that, the Olympics, Special Olympics and Paralympics differ in three main areas: 1) the presence or absence of a disability, and if present, the disability categories of the athletes involved, 2) the criteria and philosophy under which athletes participate, and 3) the structure of their respective organizations.

Are Special Olympics and Paralympics the same? What is the difference? 
No. The Special Olympics is focused on using the power of sports to help people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Intellectual disability is a term used to describe a person with certain limitations in cognitive functioning and other skills, including communication and self-care. Athletes involved in the Paralympics are mainly those with physical disabilities.

How many Invitational Youth Games have been held? 
The 2019 Games will be first ever Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth games and seeks to set the foundation for many games to come.

Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Where will the closing and opening ceremonies be held? 
The Opening Ceremonies will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at 255 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2W6. The Closing Ceremonies will be held **TBD**

What time will they take place? 
The Opening Ceremonies will take place on May 14 from 7:30pm – 9:30pm. The Closing Ceremonies will take place on May 16 **Time TBD**

Who is able to attend the closing and opening ceremonies? 
Families and athletes will have reserved tickets for both the opening and closing ceremonies. The public will be granted access but on a limited, first-come first-serve basis.

Are tickets required to attend? 
Tickets will be required to attend the opening and closing ceremonies. However, all sporting events will be open to the public with no ticket required.

For athlete families: How do I receive my ticket(s)? 
Tickets will be distributed to families of athletes via email.

For athlete families: When will I receive my ticket(s)? 


What is the Healthy Athletes Program? 
The Healthy Athletes Program increases the health of Special Olympics athletes worldwide by providing them with free screenings and education. At the 2019 Invitational Youth Games, athletes will have access to health practitioners across 7 different health disciplines, who provide them with knowledge about proper health whilst identifying any need of follow-up care.

Who is Conducting the Screenings? 
Local Health Care practitioners from the Greater Toronto Area will be on-site to provide the screenings. They will cover disciplines such as mental health, physiotherapy, podiatry, and optometry.

What is the Athlete Leadership Program? 
Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Program provides athletes with the tools to undertake positions of leadership within their community and the broader movement. These leadership roles can include public speaking, being an athlete health advocate, being a part of an Athlete Input Council, being a Peer Mentor and taking on positions as Board and Committee Members.

What is the Youth Summit? 
The Youth Summit program provides secondary school students from all participating countries with the knowledge and confidence to promote Special Olympics programming in their home communities. Youth Summit Leaders will be given the opportunity to observe the Games internally, brainstorm ideas at meetings with other group members, and collaborate with Special Olympics staff and sponsors from the Observers Program.

What is Coach Training? 
Formal coach training opportunities will be offered by Special Olympics Ontario prior to the 2019 Invitational Youth Games. Developing knowledgeable and effective coaches is crucial to the future success of Special Olympics programming, and this training will serve as one of three main areas in which the 2019 Games will focus on establishing a legacy component.

What is Unified Sport? 
The Special Olympics Unified sport program is a fast-growing initiative that brings people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team to compete. The 2019 Youth Games will facilitate Unified sport competition in basketball, bocce, floor hockey, and soccer.

What is the University/College Program? 
The Special Olympics University/College Championship, held alongside the Invitational Youth Games, will feature teams from 16 North American Universities and Colleges competing in a Unified Basketball competition. Teams will be comprised of mainstream post-secondary students, and Special Olympics athletes aged 18-25. Teams competing will have won their respective intramural championships throughout the year.

What is the Observer’s Program? 
The Observers Program is an opportunity for Special Olympics Chapters, Partners and Sponsors to learn more about the program and its growth, obtain resources and share best practices from across school program development. During the 2019 Youth Games, participants will have an opportunity to participate in presentations, tour venues and experience the competition and events first hand. A follow-up debrief and round table discussion with the games organizers will take place the day following the competition.

Involvement at the Games – Volunteering

How can I sign up to become a volunteer at the games? 
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can sign up and register at (***WEBSITE TBD***)

Are volunteer opportunities available now? Is there a deadline to sign up? 
Volunteer opportunities are available on **TBD** and will continue to be available until **TBD**

Do I need any special skills or qualifications to volunteer? 
No. Volunteer positions are open to all skillsets and required training will be provided following successful registration.

Will there be transportation provided for volunteers? 
No transportation will be provided for volunteers at the 2019 Games.

Is there an age requirement? 
There is no age requirement. However, volunteers under the age of 16 are required to volunteer with an adult.

Will volunteers have a specific uniform? 
Yes. Volunteers will be given a 2019 Invitational Youth Games t-shirt to be worn while on duty. The t-shirt will correspond with their role in the games.

Can I request a specific volunteer position? 
Yes. Through the volunteer registration website, you will be able to request specific positions based on your goals and interests, as well as provide specific availability.

Is there any mandatory volunteer training? 
Yes. All volunteers are required to attend specific training prior to the games that corresponds with their role. Volunteers must also complete AODA training in conjunction with Special Olympics guidelines.

Is there a required amount of hours/shifts each volunteer must work? 

Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR):

What is the Law Enforcement Torch Run? 
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) is the largest public awareness and grassroots fundraising organization for Special Olympics globally. The LETR hold a number of year-round fundraising and awareness events in communities across Canada. The LETR are supported by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), and have been an active partner of Special Olympics Canada since 1981.

Participating in the Games – Athletes:

How are athletes selected to participate in the 2019 Invitational Youth Games? 
The selection process is unique to each country and up to them to decide. In Canada, athletes qualify based on their success in regional and provincial school-based qualifiers. In the United States, athletes are selected within their respective region based on a number of factors.

At what age can athletes begin participating in the games? Is there an age limit? 
The 2019 Invitational Youth Games will be for athletes aged 13 -21.

Travelling to Toronto – Athletes, Coaches, and Fans:

Do I need a Visa to attend the Games? 
Most athletes, coaches, family-members, or fans travelling from outside of Canada to attend the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games will either require a: 
1. Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) 
2. Visitor Visa 
To determine which you will need, please go to the Government of Canada Immigration and Citizenship website for further details.

Please note: Citizens of the United States of America do not need a visa or an eTA to enter Canada. They must possess valid passport or other authorized documentation.

** 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games will not be responsible if traveller is not admitted to Canada for failure to obtain the required documents or inadmissible.**