Athlete Leadership and Unified Champion Schools Sponsor:
Goal of Special Olympics
The ultimate goal of Special Olympics is to help persons with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, and by increasing the public's awareness of their needs and capabilities.
Athlete Leadership Value Statement
Special Olympics empowers athletes to become contributing and respected members of society. We support athlete leaders both on and off the playing field.
Purpose of Athlete Leadership
The goal of Athlete Leadership is to empower athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices and abilities to assume meaningful leadership roles, influence change within the Special Olympics movement, and create inclusive communities around the world. Check out our Athlete Leadership One Page Snapshot.
Check out our Newsletter Issues of Special Olympics Athlete Review (SOAR):
|Winter 2021 Issue||Summer 2019 Issue|
|2020 End of Year Review||Winter 2019 Issue|
|Winter 2020 Issue||2018 End of Year Review|
|2019 End of Year Review||Summer 2018 Issue|
If you are interested in submitting a story for SOAR, here are the deadlines for each edition: March 31st (Winter), August 31st (Summer) and December 31st (End of Year).
Definition of Athlete Leadership
Through organized training and practical experiences, Athlete Leadership prepare athletes for meaningful positions of influence and leadership throughout the Special Olympics organization, both on and off the playing field.
Special Olympics PA Vision
- To strive to be an athlete-led and athlete-centric organization
- To enable athletes, families, volunteers and the community at large to see athletes in leadership roles EVERYWHERE throughout Special Olympics programs
- To change the perception of our athlete leaders
- To equip athletes with the skills and abilities to lead our organization and others
Athlete Leadership Roles & Trainings: Overview of Athlete Leadership courses based on the University model which are taken around a major in communications, governance, sports and/or health. In addition, reviews roles athletes can purse following completion of Athlete Leadership University.
Handbook For Athlete Leaders: Outlines purpose of Athlete Leadership and includes detailed overview of Athlete Leadership University.
Athletes with the proper training and coaching can lead us into the future. Athlete Leaders within all levels of our program have strong voices, a desire to get involved, and a better understanding of what their needs are and where we should be heading as an organization.
Athlete Leadership Opportunities Include:
ATHLETE LEADERSHIP UNIVERSITY- Training offered to Athlete Leaders three times a year to further their knowledge base and provide certification in the below.
1. Communications - Global Messengers (trained as public speakers for Special Olympics)
2. Governance - Athlete Representatives (trained as spokespersons for Special Olympics)
- Athlete Representative I Capstone Practicum (PDF)
- Athlete Representative II Capstone Practicum (PDF)
3. Health – Health and Fitness Coordinators (trained to incorporate better health and fitness habits into their local program).
- Healthy Lifestyles - Frequently Asked Questions
- Healthy Lifestyles Capstone Practicum (PDF)
- Alternate Health and Fitness Club Ideas (PDF)
Virtual Healthy Lifestyles Session: Open to all current and future athlete leaders from September 10th-12th. Healthy Lifestyles is the Athlete Leadership University training offered to become a Health and Fitness Coordinator.
A Health and Fitness Coordinator is an athlete committed to promoting healthier lifestyles for athletes, unified partners, coaches and families. After Athlete Leadership University, Health and Fitness Coordinators with the support from their Mentors will be expected to host a year-round health and fitness club for athletes, unified partners, coaches and families on a monthly basis.
Click here to access the registration information containing schedules and expectations of Athlete Leaders and Mentors. Once the Local Program has approved, Athlete Leader and Mentor may register in the online portal. The deadline to register is Friday, August 20th and is first come-first served.
Please contact Jordan Schubert at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about this session or anything else related to the Health and Fitness Coordinator position.
4. Sports – Coaches (trained to help athletes that currently are, or want to become certified coaches, make the transition from a competitor to a coach).
- Athletes as Coaches - Frequently Asked Questions
- Athletes as Coaches Practicum Report Form (PDF)
- Athletes as Coaches Practicum Report Form (Word)
In order to submit practicums for Athlete Leadership University courses, all Athlete Leaders must log into THEIR individual (not their mentor’s) profile in the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Online Portal. If the Athlete Leader is having difficulties logging in, they may select “Trouble Logging In” to retrieve User ID or “Forgot Password” to automatically have new password sent to their e-mail. Once logged in, Athlete Leaders must then go to the “Athlete Leadership Opportunities” tab and select the course(s) they wish to submit a practicum in. For questions regarding Athlete Leadership University practicums, please contact Jordan Schubert at email@example.com.
**If interested in being trained in any of these subjects, please fill out the Athlete Leadership University Interest Form so you can receive all Athlete Leadership updates.**
ATHLETE INPUT COUNCILS - An open forum for Athletes to share their input on key topics, games and events.
ATHLETE CONGRESS - Hosted every 2 years, is a forum for Athlete Representatives to present recommendations to the SOPA Board of Directors for organizational change. Athlete Congress attendees must be trained Athlete Representatives -- one participant per county. The 2020 Athlete Congress Chair is Kristine Progin from Lebanon County.
ATHLETES ON SOPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS - Positions are currently held by Ernie Roundtree from Monroe County and Johanna Schoeneck from Lycoming County.
OTHER KEY ROLES ATHLETES CAN HOLD:
Coaches - View Our FAQ
|Athlete Leadership University Instructors|
|Athlete Leadership University Mentors|
|Special Olympics Employees|
|On Games Organizing Committees - View Our FAQ|
|On Local Program Management Teams|
|On Regional Input Council|
|Attend Athlete Congress|
|Attend Leadership Conference|
|Attend Athlete Input Councils|
|Health and Fitness Coordinators - View Our FAQ|
|Healthy Athlete Initiative Assistants|
For more information and details on upcoming programs, please contact: Jordan Schubert, Athlete Leadership Coordinator.
Athlete Feedback is very important to us. If you have any suggestions on how to make Special Olympics better for all athletes, please click the below button and submit your ideas.