Special Olympics Alberta

Incorporated on February 28, 1980, Special Olympics Alberta (SOA) has built a tradition of support and opportunity for people in Alberta with intellectual disabilities.

SOA ( offers summer and winter sports for ages 8 and up, youth programs for ages 2 to 18, athlete leadership opportunities, unified sports, and health programs.

Bold indicates an affiliated club with Pickleball Alberta.

Bold Red indicates affiliated clubs with Special Olympics Pickleball Programs. 

Zone 1: Brooks, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat
Zone 2: Airdrie, Bow Valley, Drumheller, Foothills, Olds & District
Zone 3: Calgary
Zone 4: Camrose, Lacombe, Red Deer, Wetaskiwin
Zone 5: Leduc, St. Albert, Spruce Grove & District, Strathcona County
Zone 6: Edmonton
Zone 7: Lakeland, Lloydminster, St. Paul, Vegreville, Wood Buffalo
Zone 8: Grande Prairie

Participating Clubs

Clubs that have initiated Special Olympic pickleball programs are:

  • Edmonton Pickleball Club
  • St. Albert Pickleball Club
  • Red Deer Pickleball Club
Establish a Special Olympics Pickleball Club Program

To Prepare for a Special Olympics Club Program:

  • Contact the Pickleball Alberta Special Olympics Coordinator to get your registration setup on the Special Olympics Alberta (SOA) website by April 1 for summer play (i.e. May-June program), and determine the fee (e.g. $10 club, $20 PA and $10 PCO = $40).
  • Secure court access in your community (indoors or outdoors).
  • Determine a Special Olympics Pickleball Lead for your coach team.
  • Recruit coaches: a ratio of at least 1 coach to 4 participants; it is suggested to start with a maximum of 16 participants in the first year of your SOA pickleball program.
  • The program is suggested to run once a week for 1.5 hours.
  • Determine day and time and add to your club calendar and website.
  • Coaches must have a Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC) and complete the Safe Sport module (see section below).
  • Host a coaches’ orientation prior to your program start.
Try It Events

Some communities may wish to host a Try It event to determine interest before they commit to starting a program. Ensure that you apply for an Insurance Certificate from Pickleball Canada for this special event. (


An inter-club friendly competition may be organized if clubs are interested. At the conclusion of your program celebrate the successes with a BBQ, pizza, or sandwiches, and participation certificates, awards or medals. Submit pictures to Pickleball Alberta throughout the season for athletes that have media opt in. Also share on your club website, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Become a Volunteer

Volunteers are the backbone of the Special Olympics movement. 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. There are many ways volunteers can support the movement.

The requirements to become a volunteer for the Special Olympics Alberta Program include:

Vulnerable Sector Check

Working with clubs PA takes steps to protect our volunteers, staff and participants through our vulnerable sector screening process. Members who will be volunteering to work with youth or vulnerable adults in coaching, training or leading sessions for play organized by PA or an affiliate club must pass a vulnerable sector check (VSC). To start the process, members complete the application / consent for VSC screening online at:  

The PA Screening Committee (PASC) will review the information and email a letter to the member that they will take to their local police department to request a VSC check and confirm the next steps.  Each police department has their own process to complete these checks and while it generally takes a couple of weeks it could be longer or shorter. 

All communication and records for VSC screening applications are maintained by the PASC on a confidential drive that only members of the Screening Committee can access. As an example, the Red Deer RCMP prefer you to use the online application at with the letter you received from Pickleball Alberta titled “Request for Vulnerable Sector Check” attached. Once the RCMP have completed their check they will notify you to pick up your VSC at the RCMP detachment where you will be asked for ID. Some volunteers may be finger printed.

Safe Sport Training Module (90 mins)

Coaches are asked to take the SAFE SPORT training module at which will help anyone involved in sport identify and prevent situations of maltreatment making the sport safe for everyone. Once these two components are completed, sign up as a volunteer on the Special Olympics Alberta website Click on Get Involved, Become a Volunteer, and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Register to Volunteer.

NCCP Instructor 1: Introducing Pickleball 

Consider taking this in-person community coaching 1.5-day session. It is not currently mandatory for SOA coaches, but strongly suggested.

Emergency Action Plan

Ensure that your location has an Emergency Action Plan and that you are familiar with it. You can take the NCCP Emergency Action Plan through the Coaching Association of Canada ( which takes about 15 minutes to complete.

© Pickleball Alberta 2022