The Challenger Division of Little League is a program for mentally and physically challenged youth, helping them to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.
Any child who is currently enrolled in Special Education and has an Individualized Educational Program (I.E.P.) is eligible for Challengers. More than the skills of baseball are 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 Little League Challenger Division provides the framework so Little League programs may offer a structured, athletic activity for all youth in their communities. Challengers is open to boys and girls ages 5—18 years old.
Challenger Baseball participants learn not only the fundamentals of baseball, but also experience pulling together as a team, being cheered on by a crowd, and being encouraged by their peers. One of the benefits of having a Challenger Division is that it encourages the use of “buddies” for the Challenger players. The buddies assist the Challenger players on the field but whenever possible, encourage the players to bat and make plays themselves, however, the buddy is always nearby to help when necessary.