Athlete Input Councils

Athlete Input Councils are a means for athletes to express their ideas, concerns and recommendations at the local level, to help improve the quality and integrity of their Special Olympics program.  Input Councils meet on a regular basis and recommend new ideas to their local County Management Team and provide valuable feedback on events and competitions held at the County or Area level.

For athletes interested in joining a local Athlete Input Council or for those interested in helping their local program start an Input Council, here is what is expected of an Input Council and its Members:

Structure

Membership should be comprised of at least one athlete from each type of registered training program in the County (i.e., High Schools, vocational schools, adult day care, shelter employment, independent athletes and group homes).  The representatives will choose a chair and vice chair for the County Input Council. When a County Input Council is not in operation, the County Coordinator would choose representatives from those who express an interest. Members must be at least 17 years old. Members should commit to at least a three-year term and may be reappointed. If a member must leave the Input Council, he or she can suggest someone who may be able to take his or her place. Potential members may be asked to complete an application. Members must come to at least half the meetings in a year or forfeit membership.

Training for Members

Input Council members should go through the Athlete Leadership Governance training course, or a course designed for Input Council members.

Meetings

Will be held four to six times a year prior to the County Management Team meetings. A Chairman (athlete) will lead the meeting.  A Secretary, one of the athlete mentors or another athlete will serve as Secretary. County Coordinators will recommend someone to serve as the liaison/facilitator for the Council. The Council has final approval of the facilitator. The Chair will provide a meeting agenda, which will include approval of minutes, old business and new business as well as other topics as brought forward to the Input Council. Members will raise hands to speak. If general agreement is not reached during discussion, a vote will be taken on the topic being discussed. A simple majority will win a vote.

Officers and Duties

The Chair will be elected by members of the Input Council for a one-year term and can be re-elected one time. A former Chair would be allowed to run for Chair again after sitting out a term. A Vice Chair will be elected by Input Council members. Duties of the Chair would be: formulate meeting agendas after consulting with the County Management Team and Input Council members, to run the meeting, to report to the County Management Team about the discussion and decisions of the Input Council, and to mentor the Vice Chair in the duties of the Chair. The Vice Chair will run meetings in the absence of the Chair and report to the County Management Team. Role of Athlete Input Council Mentor: The Mentor will review minutes and issues with the athletes who require assistance before meetings and answer any questions athletes may have.

If you are interested in helping start an Athlete Input Council, becoming a Council Member or a Council Mentor, contact your local Special Olympics program for more information.