Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver (at center) participated as a panelist in the first-ever Athlete Leadership Summit held in Philadelphia from October 31 - November 1, 2013.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) hosted and organized the first-ever Special Olympics North America (SONA) Athlete Leadership Summit in Philadelphia from October 31 - November 1, 2013 with the help of Special Olympics Indiana CEO Mike Furnish, SONA Senior Manager of Sports Partnerships Annette Lynch, and other committee members who worked diligently on the content and event.
Athlete and Program leaders, as well as Athlete Leadership Program volunteers, from across the SONA region gathered in Philadelphia for an intense two-day work session designed to help the movement re-envision the future of Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs). Work groups addressed an array of critical philosophical, strategic and tactical needs and issues and presented their recommendations to a blue ribbon panel, including Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver, Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health Commissioner Dr. Arthur C. Evans Jr., City Councilman Dennis M. O’Brien, and Paula Kelley, SVP, Client and Business Management Executive at US Trust.
The input and recommendations from the summit were presented to Special Olympics International’s (SOI) Board of Directors by fellow Board Member and Special Olympics Canada athlete leader Matthew Williams. A working committee will subsequently be formed to carry the work forward.
Also present for this historic event was SOPA’s new Athlete Coordinator Jordan Schubert who had this to say about his experience: “At this conference, Athlete Leaders and Special Olympics staff from across the US, Canada, and Caribbean gathered to learn more on how to start or better their ALPs program. One of the biggest parts for me during this conference was working on tying in my connections with Project UNIFY to ALPs. I, along with… Delaware athlete Rachel Ward, presented the ALPs/Project UNIFY connection in front of a panel of important people, which included Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver. I believe young athletes serving on a youth activation committee can take their leadership skills after they transition off and begin training at ALPs University. From there, they can become leaders and mentor youth in their local program.”