Special Olympics’ Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPS) allow athletes to explore opportunities in roles previously considered “non-traditional”. Such participation might come in the form of an athlete serving on the Board of Directors or local organizing committee, or it might be an athlete as a spokesperson, team captain coach or official. Participation in Athlete Leadership Programs may be in addition to or in place of participation in traditional athlete roles.
A program or initiative could be considered an Athlete Leadership Program if it:
- Allows athletes to choose how they will participate (i.e., selecting their sport or deciding to become a coach)
- Encourages athletes to serve in meaningful leadership roles other than or in addition to that of “competitor”
- Provides training for existing leadership as they welcome and encourage athletes in these new roles
Athlete Leadership Program Initiatives
Below are some initiatives that Special Olympics programs around the world have already instituted. Special Olympics Utah is proud to say that we have athletes in Utah that fit every category listed.
- Athletes on the SOUT Board of Directors
- Global Messengers (spokespersons)
- Athletes as Coaches
- Athletes as Volunteers
- Athletes as Donors
- Athletes employed by Special Olympics Utah
Special Olympics is about breaking down barriers that others thought were permanent. Athlete Leadership Programs are about breaking down our internal barriers that keep athletes from fully enjoying Special Olympics Utah through self-directed, meaningful participation in virtually any aspect of the program.