Athlete Leadership exists to empower athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices to assume meaningful leadership roles, influence change in the Special Olympics movement, and educate communities around the world that results in positive life changes.

Leadership University

Leadership University is offered through a series of online courses held throughout the year. Any Special Olympics athlete, Unified partner or coach can participate; they’ll develop new leadership skills to contribute to their teams and communities.

Each course costs $25. There is no extra fee if the participant needs a mentor or Unified partner for support. If you have a schedule conflict, each webinar will be recorded and emailed to all participants after each class. Scholarships are available.

No Leadership University classes are currently in session.

Athlete Leadership Council

Three times per year, Special Olympics Minnesota hosts an Athlete Leadership Council where athletes provide crucial feedback and ideas for strengthening our mission and organization. Lead by athlete leaders, this council gives Special Olympics athletes an opportunity to be agents of change in this movement and in their own communities.

The council meets for one-hour sessions at Winter Games, Summer Games and Fall Games. For that hour, athletes discuss a predetermined topic and follow the guidelines that all ideas and opinions are heard and valued.

At the end of each council session, the council leaders summarize and report back to Special Olympics Minnesota staff so they can include the feedback and ideas in their decision-making processes.

If you would like to submit a topic or nominate an athlete for the council, please contact [email protected].

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 MN. 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 reporting

Special Olympics Minnesota is now using the President’s Volunteer Service Award Program to recognize all athletes and Unified partners for their volunteer work within the Special Olympics movement and their communities. Awards will be distributed on a 12-month basis starting with your first entry.