Athlete Empowerment & Leadership
Special Olympics Ontario is committed to ensuring that athletes participate in all key areas of the organization through athlete empowerment initiatives. This commitment hopes to ensure that athletes are given the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics movement beyond sports training and competition.
Through athlete empowerment, Special Olympics Ontario hopes to help athletes experience greater control over their lives, put their thoughts into action, be personally responsible and have some input in their local communities. It is SOO’s goal to include the participation of as many people with intellectual disabilities in running and spreading awareness for SOO programs as possible.
Special Olympics Ontario utilizes Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs)
to encourage and facilitate athlete empowerment.
Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPS)
Special Olympics Ontario provides Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs), which equip athletes with the tools to undertake positions of leadership within their community and the broader Special Olympics movement. These workshops enable athletes to explore opportunities beyond sports training and competition. Leadership roles can include public speaking, acting as an athlete health advocate, being a team captain as well as preparing athletes for positions as Board and Committee Members. These roles give athletes a voice in shaping the Special Olympics movement, and a chance to spread the word about the transformations Special Olympics can bring to individuals and families.
ALPs workshops are organized in communities throughout the province. To learn more about an ALPs workshop in your community, contact your Community Council, District Developer or the Special Olympics Ontario Provincial office.
Athlete Leadership Opportunities
Opportunities for Athlete Leaders who have participated in Athlete Leadership Program workshops include a multitude of roles, including, but not limited to acting as an Athlete Speaker, Community Athlete Representative, Peer Mentor or as member of the Athlete Leadership Council.
What qualifies an athlete to become an Athlete Leader?
- Attend or take part in an ALPs workshop when it is provided
- Understand and adhere to “Athletes Rights and Responsibilities”
- Assist other athletes, coaches or council members when asked and able to
- Ensure your activities and conduct positively reflect your participation in Special Olympics
- Be in good standing with your Community and Special Olympics Ontario
The Athlete Leadership Programs’ speaker training is designed to prepare and train Special Olympics Ontario athletes with the tools necessary to prepare captivating and enlightening speeches using their own words and experiences. Athlete Leaders who have completed ALPs training and are interested in participating in local and provincial speaking engagements are encouraged to work with their Community Council to determine suitable speaking opportunities.
Community Athlete Representatives
Athlete Leaders have the opportunity to become active members of their local Community Council by applying to be a Community Athlete Representative. The role of the Athlete Representative is to provide a voice for athletes on Community Councils and to help ensure that athletes in the community are participating in community initiatives.
For a more in depth description of this position please view the position description found in this section of the Resource Library.
Athletes as Volunteers
After years of participating in the same sports, many athletes report that they are looking for new challenges and activities within the Special Olympics Ontario organization. Athletes who feel that they have a grasp of the fundamentals of a sport and believe that they might be able to mentor other athletes in that sport might be candidates for the Peer Mentorship Program, which combines sport knowledge with athlete leadership. For additional information on the Peer Mentorship Program, please contact your Community Council or District Developer.
The Athlete Leadership Council
The Athlete Leadership Council is comprised of a group of Special Olympics Ontario Athlete Leaders. The Council focuses on promoting athlete leadership programming and ensures that athletes from different communities have an opportunity to discuss their experiences and community-specific matters. To learn more about the Athlete Leadership Council please contact your Community Council or District Developer.