Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs) provide training and support for athletes who desire to expand their participation in Special Olympics both on and off the competition field. Through ALPs, athletes receive training and have opportunities to hold positions of leadership and influence. In these roles, athletes help determine policy and set direction for Special Olympics. Ultimately, ALPs helps to create a “culture of welcome” throughout the organization as athletes are welcomed into their new leadership roles and serve alongside other volunteers.
Through leadership training, Special Olympics athletes participate in many different roles. They work as employees of Special Olympics, coach and volunteer in local programs, speak to community groups, and represent other athletes on boards and management teams.
Starting with the Introduction to Athlete Leadership course, athletes learn all about Special Olympics and how they can become a leader. Athletes then select one of three majors (Communication, Sports, or Governance) and take a series of classes leading to graduation two to three years later. Following each class, an athlete and his/her helper must complete a practicum related to their study.
Course Curriculum for ALPs University
|Introduction to Athlete Leadership||Introduction to Athlete Leadership||Introduction to Athlete Leadership|
|Communications Major||Sports Major||Governance Major|
|Global Messenger I||Athletes as Coaches||Governance – Input Councils|
|PowerPoint or Technology||Level 2 Coaches Certification*||Governance – Boards & Committees|
|Global Messenger II||Sports Skills Course||PowerPoint or Technology|
*Includes 4 online courses
Other courses offered as developed.
Area and County Programs that seek to involve athletes in leadership roles are required to attend a two-hour certification session. During this training, the program’s ALPs Coordinator will learn of the various roles available for Athlete Leaders and the expectations of volunteers (helpers) in successfully meeting these requirements.