Through participation in Special Olympics sports, athletes gain confidence, self-esteem and personal skills. With this new confidence, some athletes wish to pursue other opportunities within the Special Olympics programme either in addition to their sport or as a follow on from past participation. Athlete Leadership encourages athletes to develop skills that will empower them to be advocates for all athletes and act as a Leader for Special Olympics.
Becoming involved in Athlete Leadership provides athletes with many new and different opportunities. We provide training to athletes who wish to become Athlete Leaders. The training helps athletes to build on their confidence and self-esteem and encourages them to contribute to the organisation in a wider context. It also gives athletes a voice in spreading the word about the positive change Special Olympics can bring to individuals and families.
Areas Athletes can get involved in
Athletes as Ambassadors
Our athletes are superb ambassadors for their clubs and organisation. Training is provided in public speaking, presentation skills, photography and media work. This training gives athletes the confidence to share and express their views and ideas and to represent themselves and their fellow athletes. Opportunities are provided for athletes to engage at various levels of the organisation. This may lead to involvement in Special Olympics media campaigns, helping to spread our message to the general public.
Athletes as Volunteers
Through volunteering, athletes are provided with additional opportunities to develop their skills and give their time to the organisation. With planning and support from their mentor, athletes can volunteer at their Special Olympics club or in their local community. There may also be opportunities to volunteer at various levels within the organisation.
Athletes as Team member on a Committee
Opportunities exist for athletes to serve on different committees and teams within the organisation. Through attendance at workshops and training, athletes and mentors learn the value of representing their peers at various levels. Athletes will learn about committee roles, structures, the election process, decision making and what is required should they be appointed to a committee or team.
For athletes who are both ready and wish to take on an additional challenge, we have established an awards scheme which encourages athletes to complete various projects and tasks, with the support of their mentor, in order to achieve an award.
There are three levels of award: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Athletes can participate in workshops and training enabling them to decide on which project they would like to take on. The athlete and mentor will agree on the activity and time commitment prior to undertaking the award.
Participation in the awards scheme is not compulsory for any athlete who wishes to become a leader in the Special Olympics programme.
Who can take part?
Any athlete, with the assistance of a mentor, can participate in Athlete Leadership. You must be over 16 years of age, while mentors must be over 18 years of age. Both the athlete and the mentor must be registered members of Special Olympics. Mentors may support one, two or more athletes at the same time, depending on the level of support the athlete may require.