The Little League Challenger Division is a program for the mentally and/or physically disabled youth to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities. More than the skills learned through the experience, the value of the Little League Challenger Division is found in the proven therapeutic and socialization benefits of participating in sports, the strengthening of participants' self-esteem, the opportunities to mainstream into other divisions of play, and the disciplines of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play which are hallmarks of the Little League program.
The philosophy of the Little League Challenger Division is to provide the framework so that every Little League program may offer a structured, athletic activity for all youth in the community. Playing equipment, uniforms, official shoulder patches, umpires and any special event activities provided for existing divisions are to be available for the Little League Challenger participants as well.
Chartered by the United States Congress as and educational program, it is incumbent upon every league administration to provide the same organization structure as is offered the other Little League divisions, and to assimilate the Little League Challenger participants into the structure of the Little League program.
A key to a successful Little League Challenger Division is the careful selection of managers and coaches. Qualified adult leadership must reflect positive and constructive direction tempered with patience and understanding.
A wide range of abilities of Little League Challenger participants will necessitate variations in not only the rules, but in the philosophy of conventional baseball. Some flexibility to applicable rules and regulations is permitted in the Challenger Division to meet individual program needs.
“I have goosebumps,” Donna Collins said. “This is a love every summer. It’s not something that we have to do. It’s something we’re privileged to do.”
“To work with these kids and to be part of this league is a joy,” she added. “My kids have gotten so much out of it I can never say thank you enough.”
~ QC Times, August 8, 2010