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 

**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 


Session #3

Date: August 15, 2017
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm
Location: 11 Main St, Suite 1A, Old Mystic, CT 06372 (In Old Mystic Mill)
Topic: Music Therapy

Description: What is Music Therapy? Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. 

Click here to register

Session #4

Date: August 29, 2017
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm
Location: Hamden Office
Topic: Beyond the Vision

Description: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader". Th focus of this training is to encourage athletes to take meaningful positions of influence and leadership throughout the organization to help determine policy and set direction, going beyond Eunice Kennedy's vision as being athletes but doing so much more. This training will be led by two fellow Athlete Leaders Angie D'Amico and John Woods.

Click here to register

Session #5

Date: October 24, 2017
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm
Location: Willimantic Public Library, 905 Main St, Willimantic, CT
Topic: Assistive Technology

Description: What is Assistive Technology (AT)? Assistive Technology (AT) is any device, be it low or high-tech, used to maintain or increase the level of function of a person with a disability. Some examples include but are not limited to; magnifying glasses, adaptive mice and keyboards, phone amplifiers, canes or wheelchairs, and smart home devices. Athletes will be educated and train on a variety of Assistive Technology devices. 

Click here to register

Session #6

Date: Sept 30 -Oct 1st
Location: Trumbull Marriott
Topic: SOCT Leadership & Health Summit - Much More Than A Game!

 Description: The 2017 SOCT Leadership & Health Summit offers energized keynote presentations, informative breakout sessions and athlete screenings in multiple health disciplines. This large gathering of SOCT’s most valuable resources - YOU! – will provide our statewide organization an opportunity to learn, to teach, to support one another and to have fun!  Saturday’s keynote and breakout sessions will address the needs of our Local Coordinators, Local Program Committees, Coaches, Parents/Guardians as well as adult Athletes who are making decisions regarding their own health and wellness choices. 

Click here to register (not the official registration, this is only for Global Messenger records)

Session #7

Date: TBD
Time: 6:00
Location: BCTV 40 Kirkham St, Branford, CT
Topic: Athletes Working with the Media
Description: Learn types of media and how to interact with each one. Learn the difference between a sound bite and an interview. Learn how to prepare for different types of media experience, role play and TV interviews. Overall Goals: Provide athletes with the skills necessary to give a short speech and answer questions from the audience about Special Olympics; offer ideas on different audiences that would be interested in hearing an athlete speak about Special Olympics. Speak with media in a fashion that will enable reporters, editors, directors to share the Special Olympics story with its customer.


Session #8

Date: November 11, 2017
Time: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Yale West Campus Conference Center, 100 West Campus Dr, Orange, CT
Topic: Fall Health Athlete Input Council and Global Messenger Training
Description: Will be release closer to the event

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

Jaquanna Soules
Coordinator, Community Impact
203-230-1201, ext. 256.