Athlete Leadership

What is Athlete Leadership?

New to Athlete Leadership?

Please contact Pete Paciorek or Lynna Hodgson to set up a virtual "Introduction to Athlete Leadership" and "Understanding Leadership" course. These courses are required for ALL athlete leaders to take prior to taking any other athlete leadership coursework.

Taking a virtual "Introduction" class is a great way for new athlete leaders to “test the waters” and make sure that Athlete Leadership is a good fit for them.

Note: If you take this course virtually, you WILL NOT need to take it again at the ALPs University in the fall.

Upcoming trainings:

We are planning to hold an in-person ALPs University in the spring. Dates TBD.

Athlete Leadership programs (ALPs) provides training for athletes who wish to expand their role in Special Olympics Missouri to much more than just on the field of competition. Our athletes learn how to achieve success, joy and acceptance on the field of competition, while Athlete Leadership Programs teach them how to achieve those same goals and feel just as empowered while off the field of competition as respected leaders and spokespeople in their communities and where they can make a difference for the organization they love.

Non-SOMO athletes: You do not have to be a current SOMO athlete to get involved with this program. We are open to ALL people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. We will still need a physical for you even if you choose not to participate in one of our sports. For more details on eligibility for non-SOMO athletes, please click here.

You belong (yes, YOU!): Athlete Leadership truly is a program for every single person with an intellectual or developmental disability; SOMO is committed to making sure every one of you feels welcome in this setting. It’s important for potential athlete-leaders to recognize that this program will push you. It will be hard work and the expectation is that you will attend classes, be attentive and engaged, and complete homework for every class. You will get out of this class what you’re willing to put in, so long as you’re willing to work hard, you will excel.

What athlete-leaders like about Athlete Leadership:

  • Opportunity to build relationships outside sports
  • "Helped me overcome my fear of public speaking"
  • Learned practical skills like balancing a checkbook
  • Gained self-confidence
  • "It's helped me uncover things I never knew about myself. I wouldn't be who am I today without (it)"

"Going out there and proving yourself to people who are saying just because you have a disability you can't go to college, or drive, or get a job. To be independent means to prove them wrong."

-- Athlete-Leader

Everything you need to know about Athlete Leadership

An athlete-leader takes notes during an Athlete Leadership class while their mentor looks on

"Athlete Leadership is a stepping stone. When your child gets out of school, this is a college geared toward them. It shows them their strengths and urges them to use them. My daughter refers to this as her college and that's exactly what it is."

- Parent of a SOMO Athlete-Leader