Youth Programs

School Program

Our School Program allows students with an intellectual disability to build confidence in sport through quality training and competition; laying the foundation for an active healthy lifestyle.

The program allows students to train and compete in various sports as a member of their school athletics program. There are dedicated events during school time that are designed to build confidence and competence across a wide selection of Special Olympics Manitoba official sports; basketball, snowshoeing, bocce, athletics and soccer. Each sport is offered during a specific season over the course of the school year, with specific milestones built in which ultimately leading to the competitive event.

Students will develop the skills and experiences of young athletes in order to best prepare them for a lifetime of participation in sport and active living; while getting the student body involved in the lives of their peers with an intellectual disability through leadership and peer volunteering opportunities.

Active Start

A physical literacy program, Active Start is for children ages 2 to 6 is built on the rationale that when children receive early instruction in basic motor skills and developmentally appropriate play there is an excellent opportunity for improvement in their physical, social and cognitive abilities.

The program spans 12 weeks with specific objectives for each, including basic movement concepts, static balance, running, stopping/starting, jumping, throwing/rolling a ball, catching/trapping a ball, kicking a ball, and striking a ball. The last few weeks introduce more advanced skills that require the young athletes to combine the skills introduced in the earlier weeks, while providing opportunities to practice and apply skills through cooperation and teamwork.


Building on skills that were introduced through the Active Start program, the FUNdamentals program is for children aged 7 to 12 years.

This program is for athletes who are looking to develop more sport-specific related skills that will contribute to future sport participation. The sports, and specific sport related skills, that are introduced include Athletics (running, jumping, throwing), Soccer (kicking, running), Basketball (catching) and Softball (striking), and more.

Athlete Leadership Program (ALPs)

Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Programs allow athletes to explore opportunities for greater participation in the SO movement beyond sports training and competition.

As athletes mature, they seek new challenges and for ways to utilize the wisdom that comes from their life and Special Olympics experiences. ALPs initiatives are designed to provide those challenges and opportunities for the maturing athlete.

ALPs initiatives also provide an excellent way to demonstrate to the larger community that our athletes have talents and interests that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. First, our athletes amaze their communities with their commitment, drive and athletic skill; then they go further to show that they are capable of helping direct and provide the program for others.

It is common sense to ask athletes what they like and how to get more people to join the program, and then employ them to carry out their recommendations.

Athlete Leadership Programs allow athletes to explore opportunities for Special Olympics participation in roles previously considered “non-traditional.” Such participation might come in the form of an athlete serving on the Board of Directors or Regional Leadership Teams; or it might find an athlete as a spokesperson, member of an Athlete Input Council, or an athlete mentor.

To achieve those goals of inclusive decision-making we need to o er training and support at all levels of the program; for both the athletes and for the Special Olympics volunteers and staff  who will welcome them into new, leadership roles.

For more information on Athlete Leadership Program, please contact:

Lesley Camaso-Catalan - Manager, Program Services


Healthy Athletes

Healthy Athletes is a world-wide Special Olympics program which currently offers health screenings in seven areas:

Healthy Athletes organizes its events in a welcoming, fun environment. Its screenings educate athletes on healthy lifestyle choices and identify problems that may need additional follow-up. Athlete screenings range between 10 – 20 minutes, depending on the discipline.

Around the world there is a mistaken belief that people with intellectual disabilities receive the same or better health care than others; they typically receive sub-standard care or virtually no health care at all.

Based upon our years of observation and experience in Manitoba, many of our athletes lack the necessary support to access the health care services available to them in the Province. The Healthy Athletes program can be a valuable link for individuals with an intellectual disability to the health care system.

All Clinical Directors must be trained by Special Olympics International. Once trained, the Clinical Directors are responsible for setting up the temporary clinics and managing the volunteer practitioners. Special Olympics Manitoba rents the necessary equipment, arranges the facility and recruits the supporting volunteers.

The Healthy Athletes event in Manitoba would be open to anyone with an intellectual disability, not just athletes registered with Special Olympics.

For our Special Olympics athletes, improving an athlete’s health will have a direct and positive impact on their ability to train and compete in their sport; in addition to improving their overall quality of life.

For individuals with an intellectual disability in the community, providing access to the program to individuals not currently registered with Special Olympics can encourage future participation in an active, healthy lifestyle.

For Special Olympics Manitoba, working jointly with other community groups and service providers to better support a healthy, active lifestyle for individuals with an intellectual disability.

For more information on Healthy Athlete Program, please e-mail us.