Special Olympics Montana (SOMT) believes that through sports and sports-related programs, young people can make a difference in their friendships, schools, and local communities. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is an initiative that brings youth with and without intellectual disabilities together to make a difference. Following this belief, SOMT’s Unified Champion Schools program is youth driven, with a State Youth Activation Committee (YAC) made up of young people representing intermediate and secondary schools, as well as colleges, across the country. Members of the committee work together over the course of the year to develop strategies to promote school communities where all young people are agents of change.
During their time on the committee, YAC members provide leadership to SOMT and Unified Champion Schools by participating in state-level and National events. They provide advice and counsel on strategies designed to reach other youth, engage in and promote Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools activities in their home environments, communicate the initiatives of Special Olympics and Unified Champion Schools, network with other youth and U.S. Programs on a local, national, and global basis, and review Unified Champion Schools materials for innovation and viability.
SOMT’s State YAC members work together throughout the year to educate, motivate, and activate youth in their communities and advocate for the respect, inclusion, and acceptance of all people, regardless of abilities. The State YAC uses a wide variety of tools to communicate effectively, such as e-mail, conference calls, social media, state summits (a.k.a. Youth Days), and state rallies. The goal of the State YAC is to reach out to other youth to help carry out social justice for all people.