Beyond sports events, one of the ways that Special Olympics Minnesota is building an inclusive world is through Athlete Leadership. This program helps athletes develop their leadership skills. We offer education, provide practical experience and work with existing leaders to help create inclusive environments.

Through the Athlete Leadership program, I have done things that I would never have dreamed of getting to do. To name a few, I have made Public Service Announcements and Plunged with sports celebrities and executives, I have had fun with pro team mascots at different events, and I have even done a television interview. My newest endeavor is helping to start our Athlete Leadership Council. The Athlete Leadership program has helped me dream big and build my confidence.

Erik, Athlete Leader

I absolutely love being a part of the Athlete Leadership program, it gives me a chance to have my voice heard, utilize my leadership skills to spread the message of Special Olympics Minnesota. It also gives me a chance to give back to Special Olympics. I have discovered my passion for Public Speaking through being involved in the Athlete Leadership program.

Nell, Athlete Leader

Leadership University

Friday, November 3  |  3 PM – Sunday, November 5  |  3 PM
(Registered students will receive a more detailed schedule in October)
Orono High School (all meals and learning sessions)
Sheraton Minneapolis West (optional overnight lodging)

This November, take your leadership skills to the next level!


Leadership University is a weekend-long training retreat beginning Friday afternoon and ending on Sunday. The event features multiple majors, fun elective courses and fantastic opportunities for athlete leaders to connect. Download Leadership University information flyer (PDF)

Planned majors (6 course hours each, subject to change)

  • 101 – Coaching Special Olympics Sports
  • 102 – Volunteering
  • 103 – Public Speaking
  • 301 – Self Advocacy
  • 501 – Networking, Recruitment, & Fundraising
  • 502 – Career Development

Planned electives (1 course hour each, subject to change):

  • 104 – Working with Microsoft PowerPoint
  • 105 – Exercise and Fitness
  • 106 – Artistic Expression
  • 304 – Voter Prep

Required coursework for all students

  • Financial Literacy (presented by Bremer Bank)
  • Taking the next steps with your leadership skills

Student life

  • Stay overnight Friday and Saturday at the Sheraton Minneapolis West (shuttles provided morning and evening between the hotel and Orono High School).
  • Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast lunch and dinner, Sunday breakfast and lunch provided.
  • Saturday night free time for studying (and partying!).

Questions? Contact Nell Coonen-Korte:
[email protected]