Athlete Leadership Programs

Athletes Becoming Leaders And Spokespeople For Special Olympics

Athlete Leadership Programs

Global Messenger Dorothy Rennekamp opens the 2016 State Summer Games

ALPs give athletes opportunities above and beyond competition, becoming committee members, coaches, volunteers, spokespersons and more! 

ALPs give individuals with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to stand up and let their voices be heard, as well as teach them the leadership skills that will help them in all facets of their life. Once their training is complete, athletes could have the opportunity to hold positions of leadership and influence.

Mission of Athlete Leadership Programs

To empower athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices in meaningful leadership roles, influence change in the Special Olympics movement and educate communities around the world of the strengths and abilities of persons with intellectual disabilities.

Opportunities Offered For Athletes

Annually a group of athletes enroll in the Athlete Leadership Class – this class of athletes will participate in training sessions scheduled throughout the year.  The trainings are typically held at the SOKY Office in Frankfort.  In these trainings, athletes will learn about becoming Global Messengers and/or a Program Ambassador.

  • Global Messengers – this program prepares athletes to become official public speakers for Special Olympics. This program allows athletes to expand their Special Olympics experience beyond the playing field.  Athletes will learn about leadership, history of Special Olympics, SOKY facts and statistics, speech writing and of course, how to give a speech.
  • Program Ambassadors – athletes attend the same training sessions described above but will receive additional training on simply being an effective program representative. This is ideal for the athlete who has a desire to represent SOKY at the next level but who is not comfortable speaking in front of a large audience.

Athletes on the Board of Directors

Special Olympics athletes serve on the board of directors.  As board members, they are given the opportunity to share their opinions, participate in discussions and are expected to deliver the Athlete Report at each board meeting.

Athlete Input Council

Athletes have the opportunity to share ideas and opinions with other athletes.  The Input Council gives athletes a chance to discuss important issues with other athletes, provide a format for athletes on committees to gather input and allow athletes an opportunity to share information for their committees.  Athletes who desire to be a member of the Input Council should be proficient with email communication.

Athletes as Officials and/or Coaches

Athletes who desire to take their sport experience to another level can become coaches and/or sport officials.  Athletes who qualify would be required to obtain all levels of training outlined by SOKY for Coach Certification and/or must fulfill all training and education requirements of the sport NGB for becoming a certified official.

For more information about Special Olympics Kentucky’s Athlete Leadership Programs, contact President/CEO Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or

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