District 28 Little League incorporated a “Challenger” division which recently played at Marna O’Brien Park in Wildomar. The Challenger Division of Little League Baseball is a program for mentally and physically disabled youth to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities. The program is available to any special needs child between the ages of 5-18, or who is in an ongoing high school program up to the age of 22.
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 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. Challenger Division participants learn not only the fundamentals of baseball, but also how it feels to be just like other children pulling together as a team, being cheered, and earning awards for their achievements.