Challenger Division looking to grow in Loudoun County

The Challenger Division was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to enjoy the game of baseball along with the millions of other children who participate in this sport worldwide. More than the skills of baseball learned through the experience, the value of the Little League Challenger Division is found in the therapeutic and socialization benefits of participating in sports, the strengthening of the participant’s self-esteem, the opportunities to mainstream into other divisions of play, and the disciplines of teamwork, citizenship and fair play which are hallmarks of the Little League program. Today, more than 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide.

In Loudoun County two leagues currently offer the Challenger Program. Lower Loudoun Little League (Sterling/Potomac Falls) and Dulles Little League (Ashburn) have been running successful Challenger Programs for many years. The District staff are eager to bring the Challenger Division to the rest of District 16. If your league does not offer Challenger we can assist you in registering in another league.

Where numbers allow, teams are set up according to abilities, rather than age, and can include as many as 15-20 players. Challenger games can be played as tee ball games, coach pitch, player pitch, or a combination of the three.

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 needed.

Parents and teenagers are strongly encouraged to become involved in this uniquely-rewarding division of Little League. After completing a Little League volunteer application and passing a required national background check, teenagers may become buddies, while parents may become involved in practices, and be eligible as coaches, managers, umpires, local league board members and other volunteer positions within the league.

For more information on the Little League Challenger Division in Virginia Little League District 16, contact Lynn Davis via email challenger@vadist16.org.

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