SOBC Athlete Leadership Academy

Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership Academy banner

Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership courses help athletes develop new skills, confidence, and tools to share their own insights, stories, and sport knowledge. Athlete leaders make a big difference in their communities and throughout the Special Olympics movement!

In order to help athletes get the most out of their courses, and to inspire and recognize ongoing commitment and achievements, Special Olympics BC offers our Athlete Leadership Academy! 

The Special Olympics BC Athlete Leadership Academy includes and links all of the courses that SOBC has traditionally offered.

Athletes are invited to register for a specific stream that matches their interests. Participating athletes will complete Level 1 course(s) before moving on to the Level 2 courses in their stream. After completing the required number of courses in their stream, athletes will be recognized as program graduates and will receive an Academy diploma and swag!

New courses will be added as opportunities arise, and can be counted as credits within streams. 

Participating athlete leaders must have:

‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†A mentor to support their journey and work with them on course material
‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†The endorsement of their Local
‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†The desire to complete their Athlete Leadership Academy stream within three years


Athlete Leadership Academy Streams






Ideal for

Athletes who want to give speeches, advocate, and share their story and those of others in the Special Olympics family

Athletes who want to help shape SOBC by serving on committees to share their insights

Athletes who want to volunteer in sport programs

Athletes who are passionate about health and want to proactively share health information with fellow athletes



(required for all streams)

Special Olympics International’s 7 self-directed virtual modules for athlete leaders

-Introduction to Athlete Leadership

-Understanding Leadership

-Understanding Emotions

-Engaging with Others

-Managing Time

-Leading Discussions

-Unified Leadership


Level 1


Complete technology and awareness courses such as Athlete Reporter or Building a PowerPoint


Complete the Safe Sport Anti-Bullying Workshop



Complete the Safe Sport Anti-Bullying Workshop

Complete SOBC personal health education courses e.g. SOBC Health Education Series, Healthy Athletes events


Level 2

Complete the Athlete Speakers Bureau 1 course


Complete the Athlete Speakers Bureau 2 course


Complete the Athlete Input Council training


Serve on a committee

Complete an Athletes as Peer Mentors course


Complete the Health Messenger course

Level 3

Show your skills and commitment by doing at least one of the following:

>Give at least one speech about your story and your Special Olympics experiences

>Complete at least one SOBC Athlete Reporter assignment


Show your skills and commitment by doing at least one of the following:


>Serve on a Local, Regional, or provincial leadership group


>Develop or be part of an Athlete Input Council in your Local

Show your skills and commitment by doing at least one of the following:


>Volunteer as a Peer Mentor in one of your Local’s programs


>Introduce a program in your Local that you can volunteer in

Show your skills and commitment by doing at least one of the following:


>Complete your Health Messenger practicum


>Volunteer in at least one health advocacy or leadership opportunity (e.g. info booth) 


Upcoming Events

Visit our event calendar to find upcoming Athlete Leadership opportunities!

Join the Athlete Leadership Academy to be notified about upcoming events!


Frequently Asked Questions

If I register for one stream, can I take courses from another stream too?

Of course you can! But in order to become an official Athlete Leadership Academy graduate, you need to complete the levels for the specific stream for which you registered. 

Can I still take one course I’m interested in, without signing up for the Academy?

You will need to complete the commitment form and let us know your reasoning for not signing up for the academy, so that we can potentially help you with that barrier! Space in each of the courses will also be limited to those who are enrolled in the entire Academy. 

I’ve done these courses before, can I get credit for the Athlete Leadership Academy?

We will be tracking our records of Athlete Leadership participants back to 2015. If we can see that you did complete a course, we will ask you to provide examples as to how you have maintained your skills since completing the course. If you haven’t been able to do much to show your skills since then, we may ask you to retake it. Please keep in mind that a lot of these courses have been modified and enhanced, so it may be best to take it again anyways!


Available Workshops

SOBC will continue to announce leadership training opportunities on the SOBC website and social media, and through contacting Locals. Athletes who have committed to the Athlete Leadership Academy have priority registration, but a few spots additional spots may be available. If you are interested, please contact Chelsea Rogers (details below). If you would like to join the Athlete Leadership Academy, please complete the commitment form at your earliest convenience!

Here are some of the Athlete Leadership courses SOBC offers:

Introductory self-paced modules from Special Olympics International

Athlete Reporter: A chance to learn new skills, showcase your fellow athletes, and share the amazing stories of Special Olympics BC with the public. Learn how to write reports and assist in documenting the action of sport. Learn about how to best use social media, share stories online, take pictures and videos and conduct interviews by creating and asking questions. Help to raise awareness about Special Olympics! 

PowerPoint: Learn all about how to use your computer to make a PowerPoint presentation, and present! Starting from scratch on a Special Olympics topic, learn how to insert photos, videos, effects and wording.  Use the presentations you create to spread awareness about Special Olympics to your community virtually, or by using a projector to present your PowerPoint in front of an audience!

Safe Sport Anti-Bullying Workshop: To help athletes identify and address bullying and harassment. To ensure everyone feels they have the tools to recognize and help stop incidences of bullying and harassment in sport. This training also talks about online activities, hoping to help everyone stay safe in online conversations. It aims to help everyone ensure our sport programs stay safe, encouraging, and fun for all. Learn more

Athlete Speakers Bureau 1 (ASB1): This course provides public speaking training to help athletes share their stories and create awareness, inclusion, and support for Special Olympics in their communities! 

Athlete Speakers Bureau 2 (ASB2): The second level of athlete speaker training, furthering your skills in public speaking and creating speeches. Gaining more confidence speaking to large groups and memorizing your speech!

Athletes Serving on Committees: Learn how to sit on a Local Committee of volunteers, as the Athlete Representative! Learn about what is discussed at these meetings, how you can provide input, and how to be successful in your role as an athlete representative for your Local. 

Athlete Input Council: Learn how to be a part of an Athlete Input Council (AIC). An AIC is made up of at least 5 athletes, meeting frequently throughout the year with the help of their mentor to discuss challenges, initiatives, and ideas within their Local that require athlete input. Work as a group to be the voice for all of the athletes in your Local or Region!

Athletes as Peer Mentors (Sport-Specific): Learn how to be a part of a sport program, not as an athlete but as a volunteer.  With the help of a mentor, you will learn how to best support the existing coaches in a sport program, and how you too can act as a coach in this way.  Athletes must only become Peer Mentors in sports that they have not been an athlete in.  Athletes are encouraged to remain in their usual sports as athletes, but support as a volunteer in a different program.  A Criminal Record Check must be completed prior to becoming a Peer Mentor in a Special Olympics program. 

Athletes as Peer Mentors (Youth Programs): Learn how to work with young athletes (ages 2-12) as a Peer Mentor in youth programs! If you have a passion for working with young humans, then you can lead by example as a fellow athlete and help to introduce them and their parents to sport and activities at a young age, before they can join sport-specific programs as an athlete with SOBC. A Criminal Record Check must be completed prior to becoming a Peer Mentor in a Special Olympics program.

Personal Education Courses (SOBC Health Education Series, Healthy Athletes Education Sessions): Various courses that teach athletes about personal health such as hygiene, sexual health, mental health, emotional health and more. 

Health Education (Sun Safety, Nutrition, etc.): Learn about health in various areas to act as a Healthy Athletes representative at different events, to teach others about health in sun safety, nutrition, hydration, and more!  

Health Messenger: Designed to help athletes learn to serve as health and wellness leaders, educators, advocates, and role models within Special Olympics programs and communities. Health Messengers empower fellow athletes and advocate for the health needs of people with intellectual disabilities. After completing their Special Olympics training course, each Health Messenger is required to do one health and wellness-focused practicum in their community or virtually within one year of their training, to put their health and wellness into practice. Learn more


Selection Criteria and Process

Special Olympics BC athletes will have the opportunity to apply by submitting an Athlete Leadership Academy commitment form outlining their desired stream and their support information.

There will be periodic intake times during the season. At those times, membership commitment forms will be reviewed by the SOBC Athlete Leadership Academy Management Team.

Courses will be offered when there are enough interested athletes, and available facilitators. They will be offered throughout the end of October to the beginning of March, and end of March to the beginning of August. SOBC will make every effort to ensure courses are offered regularly enough for athletes to complete their stream in the required time period.

To be considered for selection, athletes and mentors must:

  • Be registered with Special Olympics BC and be a member in good standing;
  • Complete an application and submit all information before the deadline;
  • Be at a point in their individual development where they can commit to the program and help create a quality experience and positive learning environment;
  • Be at least 12 years of age (athlete) and 19 years of age (mentor) ‚Äď considerations will be given on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the athlete, mentor, family, and staff.

Mentors must commit to providing ongoing support, as required, that will develop and empower the athletes to succeed in Special Olympics and their communities.


Certification Process

The Athlete Leadership Academy athletes who register will receive a blank certificate upon registration. As they complete workshop training, they will receive an official sticker to apply to the certificate, indicating their progress throughout their stream and each workshop that is completed. Athletes will be considered graduates of the Academy, once their certificate is full and complete. Depending on the athlete’s commitment, as well as availability of programs, completing their stream will take up to two years.   

Athletes will be given an Athlete Leadership-branded polo when they communicate to the Athlete Leadership Academy Management Team that they have scheduled their first engagement opportunity following a workshop. Athletes are encouraged to wear this clothing during any opportunities throughout their practical experiences.

After competing the Athlete Leadership Academy certificate, athletes are encouraged to continue Athlete Leadership activities, apply for additional workshop training, and/or become peer mentors for future Athlete Leadership Academy members.

Special Olympics BC will ensure to keep active Athlete Leadership Academy members informed about ongoing engagement and training opportunities.


Ready to Commit?

Please express your interest by reading and completing the Membership Commitment Form!

After you submit your form, someone from the SOBC Athlete Leadership Management Team will get in touch with you to talk about your options.

Athlete Commitment Form

Mentor Commitment Form




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