Athlete Leadership Programs

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin

Public speaking is just one skill learned through Athlete Leadership Programs.

Public speaking is just one skill learned through Athlete Leadership Programs.

2018 Athlete Leadership Conference photo gallery


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.

  1. 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. 
  2. Governance mentors: Attend committee/group meetings and assist athletes with the decision making and providing feedback processes.
  3. 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.
For more information contact 302-831-4653 or