Athlete Leadership

Athlete Leadership empowers athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices and abilities to undertake meaningful leadership roles, influence change in the Special Olympics movement and create inclusive communities around the world. As athletes gain the confidence that comes with achievement, they feel empowered and ready to take on new challenges to make use of all their abilities.

All across the province our athletes are developing their inner excellence on and off the court. They compete and volunteer at competitions, represent fellow athletes in their area, mentor new athletes, and are public speakers. They are proving that people with intellectual disabilities are vibrant, active, talented members of Special Olympics and in communities in which they participate.

Interested in being an Athlete Leader or a mentor for an athlete leader? 

  • Click here to access the Athlete Leadership First Steps Guide. 
  • Click here to access the Alberta Athlete Leadership Handbook. This handbook provides information on potential opportunities as an athlete leader, training sessions that are available to build leadership skills, and worksheets to create an Athlete purpose statement to guide your first steps into the world of Athlete Leadership. 

Interested in starting an Athlete Input Council in your community?  

  • Click here to access the first steps to starting your own local Athlete Input Council. 
  • What is an Athlete Input Council? This is an opportunity for athlete’s in your community to come together and discuss topics of importance for your area. Come together to be the voice of athletes in your community.  

Alberta Athlete Leadership Input Council

  • The Alberta Athlete Leadership Input Council currently has 12 members from across the province, representing 7 of 8 regions.  
  • ALIC elections will be held October 2020 in Calgary at the Annual General Meeting.  
  • Regions include: South, South Central, Calgary, Central, North Central, Edmonton, Northeast, Northwest. 

Upcoming Athlete Leadership Training Events

Due to the COVID-19 situation, we are no longer able to offer the Athlete Leadership Conferences in Calgary on April 18/19 and Edmonton on May 2/3. We are hoping to reschedule at a later date. Please check back often for more updates on future athlete leadership training opportunities.

Virtual Health Messenger Opportunity

During this time of social distancing, we really appreciate the creative thinking that everyone has done to keep their athletes engaged. SONA is excited to offer a pilot Virtual Health Messenger training to all SONA Programs. They will be choosing 10 applicants to participate, and the training will happen over 4 weeks with 2 trainings a week at 12:00 pm EST beginning April 14th. Each training will be an hour long and hosted over zoom so the Athlete and their mentor must have access to internet and a webcam. SONA will also be utilizing the Online Learning Portal ( for some fun homework assignments. If you know of someone in your Chapter who would be interested in this opportunity, please directly send this link to them. SONA will go through all applications and will make the final selection.

The online application can be found here: Virtual Health Messenger Training Application

SONA’s message to interested athletes;

We would like to hear from each applicant why they think they would be a good Health Messenger! You can submit this in any way that you would like. Remember it must be around health! The response could be written, in a video, however you feel most comfortable! We encourage your creativity!

The video can include:

• Ways you are trying to lead a healthy life,

• A personal health story,

• A plan of what you would do to help other athletes become healthier,

• An explanation as to why it’s important that people with intellectual disabilities are included in health care policy or plans.

If you are unable to attach your response to the online application form, please send it to

Virtual Training Timeline
April 6, 2020 Applications due
April 10, 2020 Participants are chosen
April 14, 2020 First Session – Introduction
April 16,2020 Second Session – Health Overview
April 21, 2020 Third Session – Fitness
April 23, 2020 Fourth Session – Nutrition and Hydration
April 28, 2020 Fifth Session – Emotional Health
April 30, 2020 Sixth Session – Communication
May 5, 2020 Seventh Session – How to be an advocate
May 7, 2020 Eighth Session – Practicum and Closing