Athlete Leadership Program


Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Programs (ALP’s) allow athletes to explore opportunities in roles previously considered “non-traditional”. Such participation might come in the form of an athlete serving on the Board of Directors or local organizing committee; or it might find an athlete as a spokesperson, team captain, coach or official. Participation in Athlete Leadership Programs may be in addition to or in place of participation in traditional athlete roles.


The Athlete Leadership Council currently has TWO openings that we wish to fill immediately: Metro Representative and Southeast Representative. Athletes selected for these positions will represent athletes in their region, provide feedback and guidance to the Special Olympics Kansas Board of Directors, and learn valuable leadership skills through targeted trainings.

Below are initiatives Special Olympics Kansas currently offers

Special Olympics is about breaking down barriers that others thought were permanent. ALP’s are about breaking down our internal barriers that keep athletes from fully enjoying Special Olympics through self-directed, meaningful participation in virtually any aspect of the program. We are pushing for a more inclusive world and are proud to be part of the #inclusionrevolution.

Athletes on State Board of Directors

Global Messengers

Health Messengers

Kansas Athlete Leadership Council

Youth Activation Committee


Thanks to grant funding awarded by Special Olympics North America and Coca-Cola, Special Olympics Kansas is looking to train 75 athlete leaders in 2022. Participating athletes will take a three part Athlete Leadership course, facilitated by SOKS staff member, Krystin Guggisberg. All course sessions will be conducted via Zoom followed by an in-person or virtual graduation and social.

Participating athletes will receive an Amazon fire tablet to use while participating in Athlete Leadership training. Those who successfully complete all three Athlete Leadership sessions will be gifted their tablet to keep for personal use.

If you are an athlete interested in taking part in Athlete Leadership training, or know an athlete who might be, please submit your/their email address to us using the form below. All athletes who submit an email address will be the first notified of open registration once it becomes available.


Athletes are selected through an application process to serve a three year term on both the SOKS Board of Directors and the KSLETR Executive Council. Athletes on the board have full voting privileges and attend regular meetings to provide input and share information with the board. To inquire about the SOKS Board of Directors position, email To inquire about the LETR Executive Council position, email

Current athletes serving in these roles:
Abbi Griswold,  Sedgwick County Thundercats, Special Olympics Kansas Board of Directors
Steven Walters, Wichita Independents, Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOKS Executive Council


The Global Messenger program is designed to teach Special Olympics athletes how to speak in public in front of a variety of audiences. The program pairs a Special Olympics athlete with a speech coach. Coaches learn how to help the athlete prepare a speech to address various types of public groups and corporate audiences on a variety of topics related to Special Olympics.


Participants must possess a willingness to speak in a public forum and feel comfortable in front of an audience. The ability to read is helpful but not mandatory. After completing the training course, Global Messengers are expected to go out into their community and speak to service groups, the corporate community and/or other organizations promoting Special Olympics.


To learn more email

Health Messengers are trained to:

The Kansas Athlete Leadership Council (KSALC) is a way for Special Olympics Kansas leaders to be in touch with athlete interests and opinions on needed improvements, sports, competitions, coaching and other programs. It is a place for athletes to practice leadership skills, and a way for athletes to provide input and feedback to and from schools, group homes, day training programs and other athletes.


Members of the KSALC are provided with leadership training opportunities and expected to hold positions on committees within or outside of SOKS. They are also expected to work together to facilitate training programs for other SOKS athletes and participate in fundraising efforts to sustain KSALC programs.

The KSALC Chairperson regularly attends SOKS Board of Directors meetings to provide feedback.


Each athlete on the KSALC has a mentor who helps the athlete prepare for meetings and work on speaking and listening skills prior to meetings. Meetings are led by the chairperson and held using parliamentary procedure. Meetings are held monthly either in person or via conference call.


The KSALC began in 2018 thanks to a generous grant from Bank of America.


Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.