2023 - 2024 Family Service Hour (Volunteer) Requirements

Family requirement is based on highest level swimmer

Swimmers who join the team during the year will have a pro-rated service hours requirement based on date of registration.

Everything you need to know about Service Hours is on THIS handy reference document.

Practice Group Service Hours Requirement
Novice no requirement
Developmental Silver 8 hours
Developmental Gold 15 hours
Age Group Prep no requirement
Age Group Bronze 25 hours
Age Group Silver 25 hours
Age Group Gold 25 hours
Senior Bronze no requirement
Senior Silver 25 hours
Senior Gold 25 hours
Pre-National 25 hours
National 25 hours


Why do we have a service hours requirement?

We need parents to help us run our own swim meets and to help other teams staff theirs with lane timers.

Why do we host swim meets?

Hosting swim meets generates significant revenue for the host team. In that sense, they are fundraisers. Some teams run bingo games or assess  fundraising fees to their families. We choose to host swim meets. In addition to being a significant source of revenue for the team, TIDE-hosted meets give our own swimmers as well as those in our area the opportunity to compete locally in a high quality swimming facility. TIDE has a reputation for hosting efficient meets and our parent volunteers are what make our meets so successful.

How can parents earn service hours?

Most TIDE parents earn their service hours by working in various meet staff positions at swim meets that we host and, to a lesser extent, by working as lane timers at swim meets that we attend (hosted by other teams). Parents who serve in lead meet operations positions earn their full requirement by serving in those leadership roles over the entire season. Scroll down this page for a description of common meet jobs.

Parents can also earn service hours by serving in other roles, such as

  • USA Swimming Official - meets full service hours requirement if USA Swimming official requirements are met (training required)
  • Parent Leadership Committee (PLC) Rep - 15 hours
  • TIDE Board of Directors (executive officers and directors who are also board committee chairs) - meets full service hours requirement
  • TIDE Board of Directors (director only) - 15 hours
  • Safe Sport AWA (Athlete Welfare Advocate) - meets full service hours requirement (training required)
  • Work crew to raise or lower the "bubble" at Mt Trashmore - hours awarded based on length of work shift

If your swimmer attends meets hosted by other teams, especially championship level meets, you will be expected to volunteer as a lane timer, whether you owe service hours or not.  The maximum number of hours awarded per session for timing at away meets will be 2 hours. There will typically be a separate signup for those shifts and it is available just 1-3 days before the start of the meet. You may earn a maximum of 10 hours this way. Signups for timing at away meets will be done through meet job signup on our team unify website. To get credit for timing, your name must be on the timers job signup for that meet. If there are any discrepancies, they must be reported through email to the Service Hours Administrator, Jen Teague ([email protected]) WITHIN SEVEN DAYS OF COMPLETION OF YOUR SHIFT.

Members have until July 2024 to earn service hours. If the full obligation is not met, hours not worked are billed at a rate of $50 PER HOUR and will be charged automatically to members on August 1, 2024

How do parents sign up for jobs at swim meets to earn service hours?

All job signups are done through our Team Unify website, on the meet and event pages. When signups open, an email goes out to the team. Simply click on "Job signup" on the meet or event page to sign up for work shifts. Workers must be at least 15 years old.



TIDE meet work signups are done through the team website and are monitored by the Service Hours Administrator. The Service Hours Administrator can assist families with finding a match between family responsibilities and team requirements. If you have special family circumstances, it is important that you contact the Service Hours Administrator EARLY when planning your TIDE meet work shifts. Families are expected to be proactive in signing up for their required number of TIDE meet work shifts. For questions about service hours, contact Tide Executive Assistant, Jen Teague, at [email protected].

A parent volunteer should not simply report to a Tide service hours activity unannounced and offer to work. All TIDE work shifts must be arranged in advance by using the Job Signup feature on our Team Unify website. This gives all of our busy families a chance to plan ahead.

  • When you arrive at a location to work, check in with the volunteer coordinators to get your specific assignments and, in the case of Tide home meets, complete the google form (via QR code). This is how we document who worked and when they worked. Most TIDE meets will have an electronic check in system that requires the use of a mobile phone with a camera to check in using the session QR code.
  • Participation in bubble raising or takedown working parties provides TIDE families with yet another opportunity to fulfill their service hours requirements. Note: this work is very physically demanding, it is highly recommended that these  positions be filled by adults who are physically capable of heavy lifting with no underlying conditions that could result in injury.  LIMIT ONE PER FAMILY PER SIGN UP. Once again, all workers must have signed up through Team Unify in advance.
  • Volunteers have 7 days after a meet/event to report any discrepancies in service hours credited to their accounts. We will not adjust hours several months after the meet or event.


I want to help another Tide family with their service hours requirement by working on their behalf. How do I do that?

Members may work on behalf of another family to help them with their service hours requirement. To assure that the hours get credited to the family in need, the family TO WHOM THE HOURS WILL BE DONATED needs to use the Job Signup to sign up for a work shift. Then, in the popup box, enter the name of the person who will be doing the job in the family's place and click Sign Up. For the family in need to get credit, the person who is working on their behalf needs to work one of the jobs IN THE JOB SIGNUP. Tide officials cannot transfer their "hours". Officials already receive a service hours exemption due to their service.


Common Swim Meet Jobs

Set up / Break down crew

Announcer: Make announcements during meet including upcoming events, competitors' names, meet worker needs (timers). Training and approval by meet broadcast media staff required

Meet Marshal: We staff both a Lead Meet Marshal and a crew of Meet Marshals. All volunteers serving as Meet Marshals must pass USA Swimming's Meet Marshal Exam in order to serve in this position. Meet Marshals monitor and supervise specific areas of the meet (on deck, in the gym, etc) and are expected to remain in their assigned areas to assure that athletes and spectators are following meet and facility rules. If you are uncomfortable enforcing YMCA and TIDE rules and correcting other parents or swimmers, please choose a job where you can be more comfortable. Meet Marshals will find there are times where they need to be assertive to guide meet behavior.

     Virginia Swimming Meet Safety Procedures must be followed. Meet Marshals must know these procedures.
     Virginia Swimming Meet Marshal Training Guide should be studied to prepare for the REQUIRED USA Swimming Meet Marshal exam

How to access the USA Swimming Meet Marshal exam.

  • THIS IS A REQUIREMENT. You must pass the exam with a score of 85%, which means you must get at least 22 of the 25 multiple choice questions correct in order to be certified as a meet marshal.
  • Log in to your USA Swimming account
  • In the main menu on your dashboard (using a computer, this is at the top of the screen), click on Education
  • In the dropdown menu under Education, click on Course Catalog
  • Use the filters to find courses appropriate for parent volunteers by clicking on the Parent/Volunteers icon
  • There are 7 courses designed for parents. One of them is the Meet Marshal Exam. Click on View Info to start the course

When you complete and pass the course, you can download your certificate of completion this way:

  • In your USA Swimming dashboard, click on Education, then in the dropdown menu click on Course Catalog
  • In the Course Catalog, click on the red button labeled View Transcript
  • You will see a list of the courses you have taken
  • Click on download certificate to get your Meet Marshal Exam certificate of completion
  • Record your certification with Team Admin using THIS FORM. You will be asked to upload your Meet Marshall certificate

Swimmer Staging: (only used at some meets.) Manage the area where swimmers gather before being led to the blocks. Organize swimmers and lead them to the blocks in lane order by heat.  Lead swimmers to the blocks before their heat.

Meet Timing Positions
Timer Instructions HERE
     Head Timer: Confirm enough timers in each lane at least 5-10 minutes before start and throughout meet. Notify Meet Director or Volunteer Coordinator asap if timers are missing.  Start 2 backup watches at the beginning of each race and trade with timers as needed.  Help keep unnecessary people away from starting area. May be asked to train timers. Experience required for this position.
     Lane Timer: Staff up to 2 per lane and clock swimmers' times. Lane timers will be assigned specific lanes. Please do not rearrange yourselves once you report to your lanes as it is hard to track no shows.


Ribbons / Awards: Label ribbons/medals and/or other event awards and sort them by team (or as directed.) Job done during the meet, often as results become available.

Hospitality Monitor / Assistant: Work under direction of Hospitality Manager to arrange and (where appropriate) deliver food and water to coaches and officials during meet. Keep hospitality area tidy and stocked.

Parking Lot Attendant: Direct meet participants to assigned parking areas