Athlete Leadership training empowers athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their abilities to undertake leadership roles, inﬂuence change in the Special Olympics movement, and help create inclusive communities around the world.
Through organized training, practical experiences, and with mentoring, athletes are prepared to undertake meaningful positions throughout the Special Olympics organization, both on and oﬀ the playing ﬁeld. Athlete Leaders work as employees of Special Olympics, coach and volunteer in local programs, speak to community groups, represent other athletes on boards and management teams, promote health and fitness, organize and run Athlete Input Councils, and share the message of the movement through visual arts and social media.
Special Olympics Indiana’s foundational program is ALPs University, which meets two weekends per year (Fall and Spring). Starting with the “Introduction to Athlete Leadership” course, athletes learn about Special Olympics, create a personal mission statement, and plan how they can lead in the organization.
Athletes then select one of seven majors (Communication, Sports, Governance, Technology, Health and Fitness, Leadership through Visual Arts, and Event Planning and Management) to pursue. Each major consists of a series of courses leading to graduation two to three years later. Following each class session, an athlete must complete a practicum related to the course topic. Review our Handbook for Athlete Leaders for more details on ALPs University and the curriculum.
*Area and County Programs that seek to involve athletes in leadership roles are required to attend a two-hour certification session.