ChallengersUpdated Sunday January 20, 2019 by OYO.
The Oaklandon Youth Organization Baseball Challenger League is open to all children regardless of ability. We provide the opportunity for all kids – who may find it difficult to play on a regular baseball team – the chance to play organized baseball. Each child is allowed to play at his or her own level – whether that is hand-over-hand, being pushed in a wheelchair, running along side a child, standing in the outfield or helping a child to catch and stay focused, verbal prompts and/or just allowing extra time.
We encourage independence as much as possible while teaching how to play baseball and to be part of a team. We encourage socialization among all kids and most of all just having fun. Family members and/or friends may be a child’s buddy and play by their side while providing guidance. The league is open to children of school age. We request a responsible adult always be present at the field.
We have had children on our team with varying abilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Blind, Deaf, Communication disorders, Developmental Delays, Physical impairments, etc. We ask that the children all play safely and follow simple rules.
Games and practices are played at Veterans Memorial Park located on the northeastside of town. Practices are on Thursday nights at 6 p.m. and games are played on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. thru mid-June.
Equipment is provided but many of our kids prefer their own bats and gloves. Regular tennis shoes are worn and not cleats. Shirts and hats are provided by the league.
If you need additional information about the Challenger League, please contact Cindy Verbarg, Challenger League Commissioner.
Feedback about the OYO Challenger League
“OYO Challenger baseball is a fun outdoor activity that our child can participate in with others. Friendships are made during the season and she looks forward to seeing these friends each week. This program also allows these kids to be on a team and play a competive game like “normal” kids. It is also nice to play in a park on a real field and see other kids playing on nearby fields. It’s hard to find sports activities for disabled kids so we are greatful that OYO has the Challenger program. ”
“Prior to having a special needs child, I thought life would bring me an opportunity to coach my son or daughter as they came up through the ‘ranks’ on typically-abled “Little League” teams. As time went by and I realized that this dream would not come to fruition with my special needs son, I often thought about ‘what could have been?’. Not just for me, but for him. Then about 3 years ago I learned about an opportunity for us to get involved with Challenger baseball at OYO – one words comes to mind when I think of what this experience has been like – AMAZING! For my son, it brings so much joy and excitement to be able to play a game he LOVES, and for me as a coach, it is a couple hours each week where I stop and realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by such a caring and loving group of kids and parents who are there at the ballpark for all the right reasons - to share and support each and every one of these special kids and their parents!! A group of SPECIAL KIDS and their devoted parents and helpers who are ALL WINNERS every time they step on the field!”
“Volunteering with Challengers didn’t feel like I was volunteering. I was just out playing and having fun with the kids. Playing ball with these kids put a lot of things into perspective and made me realize how lucky I was. If these kids can deal with everything they are going through on a daily basis and still go out and have a good time, I certainly can too. I hope the kids got as much out of it as I did!”