Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) held the inaugural Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs) University at Slippery Rock University from July 18-20, 2014.
The Athlete Leadership Program empowers 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 result in positive life changes. ALPs University is a progressive series of lectures, hands-on exercises, and practicums in a variety of topics. Much like a college degree, it takes several years before an athlete graduates. Upon completion of classes, the athlete is prepared for greater responsibilities both in Special Olympics and in their personal lives. Some examples are: member of the Board of Directors, SOPA paid staff position, Athlete Congress member, Management Team member, Global Messenger, Coach, and Mentor.
Twenty one athletes completed classes in three majors: Communications, Governance, and Technology. In addition, more than 20 volunteers completed classes as Mentors, Trainers and Instructors.