The Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Programme encourages athletes to develop skills which will empower them to be advocates for all athletes and act as a Leader for Special Olympics.
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 organisation 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.
Any athlete, with the assistance of a mentor, can participate in Athlete Leadership. Athletes must be over 16 years of age, while mentors must be over 18 years of age. Both the athlete and the mentor must be registered members of Special Olympics. Mentors may support one, two or more athletes at the same time depending on the level of support the athlete may require. See the Athlete Leadership PD Flyer here.
Three friends and I, set up an Athlete Leadership Programme, called the Hot Fuzz Leadership Group in March 2007. The group has members from Dublin 15 and Dublin 7. Due to intellectual difficulties each of the members requires the support of a mentor to participate in the Group. The Group was meeting once a month for one hour and forty minutes. Now they intend to move to virtual meetings.
The members actively pursue gold, silver and bronze Special Olympic Awards. To receive an award, each member must choose tasks to complete including, volunteering, public speaking, photography, activity roles at meetings and completing projects.
The most important rule of the Hot Fuzz Group is as follows: “In Hot Fuzz we are all equal friends and boyfriend and girlfriend stuff is kept outside”. This particular statement is used to demonstrate the importance and necessity for formality in some situations and how appropriate behaviour is essential on these formal occasions.