Athlete Leadership

Through participation in sports, athletes gain confidence, self- esteem and personal skills. With this new confidence, some athletes wish to pursue other opportunities within the Special Olympics program. Athlete Leadership encourages athletes to develop skills which will empower them to be advocates for all athletes and act as a leader for Special Olympics.

Who can be part of Athlete Leadership?

Any athlete, with the assistance of a mentor/Speech Coach, can participate in Athlete Leadership. Both the athlete and the mentor must be registered as members of Special Olympics. Mentors may support one or more athletes at the same time, depending on the level of support the athlete may require.

There are many ways in which an athlete may be a part of Athlete Leadership.

  • Global Messenger
  • Volunteering Roles
  • Committee Work

Athletes as Global Messengers

Global Messengers are athlete ambassadors who foster awareness and advocacy for the Special Olympics movement. Athletes must complete a training program in communications, speech writing and presentations. Global Messengers are called upon to give presentations about their involvement with Special Olympics to various groups throughout the state with the goal of increasing awareness about the program. Athletes must be 16 years old to be a Global Messenger.

To request a Special Olympics Connecticut Global Messenger to speak at your event, please complete the Global Messenger Request Form.

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Athletes as Volunteers

Through volunteering, athletes are provided with additional opportunities to develop their skills and give their time to the organization. With training and support from their mentor, athletes can volunteer at their Special Olympics Local Program or in their community. There may also be opportunities to volunteer at various levels within the organization.                                                                  

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Sean Bogart, an athlete and Global Messenger, takes photographs of fellow athletes for the Campus Customs website. Sean participates in the Hamden Local Program.

Athletes on Committees

As Special Olympics athletes gain confidence in new skills, they often seek new challenges. Opportunities may exist for athletes to serve on different committees and teams within the organization. Through training, athletes learn about committee roles, committee structures, election process and decision making and what is required should they be appointed to a committee or team.


Becoming involved in Athlete Leadership provides athletes with many new and different opportunities. Training is provided to athletes who wish to become Athlete Leaders. The training helps athletes to build on their confidence and self-esteem and encourages them to contribute to the organization in a wider context. It also gives athletes a voice in spreading the word about the positive change Special Olympics can bring to individuals and families.

2017 Global Messenger Training Series Coming Soon

**Each Global Messenger should select at least 2 trainings to attend. One of these can be the Fall Input Council where training will be offered at the full day session. Please RSVP your 2 training selections to [email protected]

For more information on Athlete Leadership at Special Olympics Connecticut, please contact:

Jaquanna Roberts
Coordinator, Community Impact
[email protected]
203-230-1201, ext. 256.