Athlete Leadership Program

Special Olympics Manitoba’s second session of hosting Athlete Leadership workshops was a great success! Athlete ambassadors and mentors from six Manitoba regions (Central, Eastman, Interlake, Norman, Westman, and Winnipeg) came together for the three-day session (March 18-20, 2016) at the Canad Inns Polo Park. The ability to host the session could not have been possible without the funding support from Special Olympics Canada and Canada Life, Great-West Life, and London Life. Athletes, mentors and Special Olympics Manitoba would like to extend our sincere appreciation for their support.

ALP’s University is one component of the Athlete Leadership Program (ALP). The program fosters athletes an avenue for enhanced participation beyond training and competition. Initiated in Canada in 2010, the ALP workshops help athletes learn how to speak persuasively; be interviewed by the media; mentor and speak up for other athletes; discuss their opinions on policy and governance; analyze financial reports; and research and prepare for fundraising events and presentations.

The athletes and mentors in attendance participated in the Athlete Speakers Program. The athletes learned about the essential components of a speech and valuable skills associated with public speaking. One of the key goals of the session was to help athletes grow their poise and self-confidence when conversing with others. Jesse Drozd from Lloydminster graciously agreed to join us and lead the facilitation of the session. We want to thank Jesse for sharing the valuable material with athletes and mentors.

WATCH VIDEO of Brett Miller make his speech

In total, 11 athlete ambassadors attended the session: Michelle Augert (Athlete Representative on SOM Board of Directors), Keith Peters (Central), Brett Miller (Central), Andrea Martens (Eastman), April Glauser (Eastman), Jessica Croy (Interlake), Shawn Hay (Norman), Mike Lee (Westman), Philip Bialk (Winnipeg), Darcie Godard (Winnipeg), and Thomas Henry (Winnipeg) along with their mentors: Darlene Augert (mentor to Michelle), Leanne Miller (Central), Jacquelyn Wiebe (Eastman), Ryan Croy (Interlake), Kevin Sauve (Norman), Dave Lee (Westman), Hong Thai (Winnipeg), and Janice Howe (Winnipeg). Lesley Camaso-Catalan was trained to be a facilitator for future sessions.

It was great to see both the athletes and mentors learning and utilizing the material that Jesse presented throughout the weekend! Athletes were asked to create a speech, speaking to their experience with Special Olympics Manitoba. Their speeches were constructed with one of three audiences in mind, either fellow athletes, volunteers, or sponsors. Each athlete-mentor team worked very hard creating their speech on Saturday afternoon. The results were displayed during the speech presentations on Sunday morning! All the athletes spoke enthusiastically and passionately about their experience with Special Olympics Manitoba!

We also want to thank Special Olympics Manitoba Board of Directors Chair Larry Chornoboy, Special Olympics Manitoba VP, Sport and Programs Jennifer Campbell and other guests for joining the group throughout the weekend!

We look forward to the athletes and mentors returning to their respective Manitoba regions with the confidence and skills to continue their public speaking growth. We are excited about future opportunities where athletes will be able to demonstrate their skills while speaking in their local communities! Strengthening leadership is a fabulous outcome to three days of enthusiastic, collaborative discussions!