North East Little League is proud to offer Challenger, a special division that enables people ages 4 to 21 with a physical, mental or other disability to play ball at their own level in a fun, safe, inclusive atmosphere. 

During each game, we invite players from other NELL teams to serve as buddies to Challenger players. These role models help teach basic skills and play side-by-side with Challenger boys and girls in a fun game with no outs, no strikes. Because making friends is an important part of this experience, we invite players and volunteers to stay after the game for a snack. 

Challenger buddies are expected to arrive 15 minutes prior to the game to get basic instructions. They should dress in their uniform and bring their mitt and helmet. Plastic bats and balls will be provided. Families are welcome to stay and cheer. 

In 2016 Challenger offered two teams - American Legion for players ages 8 and up & Bill Schrimper Scholarship Fund for ages 4-7. Both teams played on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon at the softball fields at the rear of the NELL complex. Our coaches are parents and professionals with experience in Autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. 

Unlike other NELL divisions, Challenger is open to anyone regardless of where they live. Players are from Erie, Harborcreek, Millcreek, Wattsburg and even New York.

 

See firsthand what the Challenger program is all about in this sports news segment by WJET TV.
http://www.yourerie.com/sports/sports/a-true-buddy-system