Athlete Leadership Programs
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin
As an integral component of Special Olympics’ dedication to empowerment and dignity, Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs) initiatives encourage and support athletes in their quest to participate in decision-making roles within the organization and their everyday lives.
Athlete Leadership Programs help athletes learn how to increase their leadership skills and create opportunities that encourage self-determination and independence in their lives.
- ALPs encourage athletes to choose how they will participate. For example, selecting their sport, and deciding whether to play Unified or traditional.
- ALPs provide training and support for athletes in meaningful leadership roles in addition to that of competitor, such as games volunteer, committee members, spokesperson or assistant coach.
- ALPs provide training for existing leadership as they welcome and encourage athletes in their new roles.
- ALPs teaches athletes how to express their opinions, and more importantly, how to be heard.
Become a Leadership Mentor
Athlete leaders need volunteer mentors to help them reach their potential in three different areas of ALPs.
- Speech mentors: Attend the eight-week Communicate with Confidence class (taught by Toastmasters) and work with athletes during the process of writing and presenting speeches.
- Governance mentors: Attend committee/group meetings and assist athletes with the decision making and providing feedback processes.
- Coach/Official mentors: Guide the athletes through the process of becoming a certified athlete or official, including the completion of online and in-person training courses.
Expectations of the Leadership Mentor
- All mentors must register as a Class A volunteer.
- Make a one-year commitment to working with the Athlete Leader.
- Attend the athlete leadership workshops.
- Work closely with the athlete to better understand his/her reading, writing and speaking abilities.
- Maintain contact with program staff about progress, issues, etc.
- Be willing to represent Special Olympics along with the athlete at events, meetings, etc.