Athlete Leadership

Athlete Leadership Overview:

Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs) allow Special Olympic Colorado (SOCO) athletes to help shape the future of the Special Olympics movement and ensure all people with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to participate in sports training and competition that is fun and fair. ALPs train athletes to serve in meaningful leadership roles other than or in addition to sports.

Goals of Athlete Leadership Programs:

  • Allow athletes self-determination of how and in what roles they will participate in Special Olympics
  • Provide athletes with the training and certification, where appropriate, to properly prepare them for success
  • Include athletes in positions of influence and leadership throughout the organization to help determine policy and set direction.
  • Provide training and education for existing leadership as we welcome and encourage athletes in their new roles
  • Recognize athletes’ ability to contribute in these roles in a meaningful way by holding them accountable to all SOCO policies and rules


Athlete Leadership Programs:

Coming in 2019 – ALPs University: SOCO will host its first ever ALPs University in 2019, which provides education for athletes in a variety of leadership topics. Using a university model where athletes receive credit for attending classes & completing practicums, participants can enroll in one of the following classes:

For Athlete Leaders who did not take the Ambassador class:

  • Intro to Athlete Leadership *Pre-requisite

For Athlete Leaders who graduated from the Ambassador class:

  • Governance: Government Relations/Self-Advocacy
  • Health: Health & Fitness (where you can become a Health Messenger)
  • Communication: Global Messenger


  • Location: Metro State University; 890 Auraria Pkwy #310, Denver, CO 80204
  • Dates:
    • Saturday, March 30, 2019: 8am-5:30pm
    • Saturday, October (Date TBD) 2019: 8am-5:30pm

If you are interested in participating in the inaugural ALPs U, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and submit your information!

Global Messenger: Becoming a Global Messenger (GM) is the highest level of leadership training that a Special Olympics athlete can go through in Colorado. This advanced training will expand upon the skills learned in the “Ambassador” training and ensures that all athletes leave with sharpened leadership skills, as well as a five-minute speech that can be given anywhere and at any time.

If you are interested in being trained as a Global Messenger, you can attend ALPs U and take the Global Messenger track.

Athlete AmbassadorThe Ambassador Program is a yearlong course that will take athletes through the introductory levels of leadership training. Mandatory trainings throughout the year will be held on Saturdays and are led by Special Olympics Colorado staff, guest instructors and volunteer mentors.

The upcoming dates, times, and locations for the 2018 Ambassador class are as follows:

The 2018 Ambassador class is FULL! If you are interested in being a part of the 2019 class, please register to receive information on the ALPs U below!

Athlete Input Council: This council is a forum for athletes to report to other athletes and Program leaders what is happening in their areas, voice their opinions about important issues, and gain leadership training and experience. Ten representatives will sit on the Council for a two-year term (2019-20) and there will be quarterly meetings (February, May, August & November) the week prior to the Colorado State Board meetings.

Athletes who are interested in serving on the Athlete Input Council should alert their Regional Manager and / or Georgia David, Athlete Leadership Program Manager.

ALPs U Program Inquiry

Athlete Leadership - ALPs University Inquiry

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