Athlete Leadership

SO Indiana State Office Contact

Jeff Mohler
President & CEO

Please visit our Resource Library for more information about current and upcoming ALPs University semesters.


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.

ALPs University

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.

Fall & Winter 2020

We may not be able to get together at Butler University as planned, but we won’t let COVID-19 cancel ALPs University! Athlete leaders can instead register for the Fall Semester (Oct. 10-11) or a special Winter Session (Dec. 5-6) of ALPs University and participate in one or two online courses offered via Zoom:

  • Introduction to Athlete Leadership: Intended for newcomers to ALPs University, this course provides an overview of athlete leadership choices, input councils, and basics of leadership, concluding with the development of a personal mission statement and selection of a major.
  • Understanding Leadership: A brand new leadership course for Special Olympics Indiana! We encourage all veteran athlete leaders and alumni to join us for this class. Understanding Leadership builds basic leadership skills to give athletes a foundation to fill a leadership role with confidence!

*NOTE: Registration forms for Fall must be completed by County Coordinators and received by the State Office no later than September 7, 2020. Winter registration will be completed online here and must be received by November 2, 2020. Contact Elesia Yoon with any questions.

General Information
Graduates of ALPs University become members of the Special Olympics Indiana ALPs University Alumni Association. This special group of athlete leaders promotes the organization through numerous leadership roles in various projects and management teams. The association newsletter, ALPs Alumnus, is publish quarterly. For more information, contact the association at

*Area and County Programs that seek to involve athletes in leadership roles are required to attend a two-hour certification session.

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