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Youth Games FAQ

FAQ: Do you have a question and/or concern about this year’s Youth Games? Check to see if your question can be answered here.

Who can participate in Youth Games?

Youth, ages 7 to 18, can participate in Youth Games provided they have been identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disability, a cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures, or a closely-related developmental disability.

Students ages 18-21 who attend high school or receive school-related services for one of the above conditions are also eligible to participate in the Youth Games.
Children younger than 7 could be eligible to participate. Contact the Youth Games Director for more information.

Is there a cost to participate?
Youth Games are free; however, pre-registration is required. Youth participants will receive a T-shirt. Complimentary lunches will be provided to participants and available (while they last) to parents and caregivers.

Why should I register my child for Youth Games?
Participation in Youth Games is Step One in the introduction process to the programs of Special Olympics. Since traditional training and competition seasons are eight to 10 weeks long, parents and caregivers might have reservations about making this kind of commitment. The Youth Games event is a one-day introduction to Special Olympics, with an emphasis on fun and involvement. Studies show that children with intellectual disabilities who participate regularly in Special Olympics exhibit courage and enthusiasm, enjoy the rewards of friendship and ultimately discover not only new abilities and talents, but their personal “greatness” as well.

What is the Parents’ Pavilion?
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to visit the Pavilion from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. where they can:

• Interact with Special Olympics athletes and their families
• Visit with representatives from metro-area Special Olympics Oregon programs
• Network with other parents of Youth Games participants
• Connect with other organizations that provide services to individuals with disabilities

Will the Parents’ Pavilion be in close proximity to the sports clinics?
Yes. They will be located in tents just outside the building where participants will check in.

How long is a Special Olympics season?
Special Olympics Oregon athletes train for a minimum of 10 hours over eight weeks. Usually this means that athletes will practice once a week for one-and-a-half to two hours. Each local program in the Portland metro area registers athletes for each season through their tri-annual newsletters. Newsletters are mailed approximately one to two months prior to the beginning of the season and contain information about the sports being offered. Sometimes the newsletters include information about practice days, times and locations, and other times the local program will mail out a postcard indicating where and when practices will be held. Each sport hastwo to three competitions during a season. Some sports have local competitions where teams from around the metro area get together to compete. All teams compete in a regional competition. Participation in the regional competition qualifies the individual or team for state competition.

Would my child practice in Beaverton even though I live in Portland?
No.  Although people travel from all over the Portland-metro area for Youth Games, Special Olympics practices are held in venues in local communities where athletes live. Athletes train with their local program, which in the Portland metro area is defined by county.

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