Athlete Leadership

Through Special Olympics New York, people with intellectual disabilities achieve success and acceptance they may never have imagined. Athletes seek new challenges and new ways to pay forward their experiences and lessons. Our leadership programs provide an outlet for that energy.

Through Special Olympics New York, people with intellectual disabilities achieve success and acceptance they may never have imagined. Athletes seek new challenges and new ways to pay forward their experiences and lessons. Our leadership programs provide an outlet for that energy.

Special Olympics New York Athlete Congress

The Congress provides athletes the opportunity to develop leadership skills and fill leadership roles. Athlete Congress members serve and correspond with the athletes of their home region.

Regional leaders consider all Special Olympic New York athletes involved in our sports program for the Congress. Leaders nominate athletes that demonstrate leadership ability through hard work, commitment and sportsmanship, a positive outlook, independent thinking and motivation of people around them.

Congress members are appointed to one three-year term, during which they receive support from coordinators in their region who facilitate Congress attendance and participation. Membership is dependent upon the athlete’s commitment and ability to attend Congress meetings and other events, as well as his or her ability to carry out other requirements of the position.

Congress members must:

  • Be actively involved in Special Olympics New York sports as an athlete, coach or official
  • Demonstrate appropriate athlete behavior at all times
  • Know their own experience as an athlete and a leader and be able to share it with others

Members have the opportunity to:

  • Lead in a wide variety of regional activities
  • Bring concerns and issues from their peers to and from the Athlete Congress
  • Effectively act on Special Olympics New York organizational requests and objectives

Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs)

Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Programs allow athletes to explore opportunities for greater participation as coaches, officials, team captains, spokespeople and Board and committee members.

These athletes help shape Special Olympics New York and spread the word about the effect of sports on individuals and families. By taking part in presentation training, they build the capability to represent Special Olympics New York and their fellow athletes to the general public. Some athletes become involved in setting policies and programming that reflect the needs and desires of themselves and their peers.

Special Olympics Global Messengers

The Sargent Shriver Global Messenger program, part of ALPs, offers presentation and public speaking training to athletes interested in taking on spokesperson roles. The special athletes who take part become the voice of Special Olympics New York, delivering messages of hope, acceptance, dignity and courage that only athletes can effectively relate.