First introduced in 1988, Challenger Baseball allows children with cognitive or physical disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of playing baseball in a setting that caters to their needs. The games are played in a safe recreational environment, where no score is kept. Each participant is assigned a buddy to act as a mentor. Buddies assist the Challenger players on the field when needed, but encourage the players to bat and make plays. Today there are more than 30,000 individuals participating in Challenger Baseball across Canada.
"Challenger Baseball provides kids with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball. It's a huge victory for families that never dreamt their child would be able to play baseball in a league. I am really pleased the Blue Jays are partnering up with us and helping to spread the word."- Ian McLean, Challenger Baseball Coordinator.
Throughout the 2015 season, Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Blue Jays, will supply all 15 new Challenger Baseball sites with start-up kits that include equipment bags, bats, baseballs, a batting tee, blast ball bases, Blue Jays hats, a first aid kit and the Commit to Kids -sports edition manual. Jays Care will also host Challenger Baseball participants at Rogers Centre in the Jays Care Community Clubhouse during the Jamboree on June 7.
In addition, the Blue Jays Baseball Academy will partner with Challenger Baseball to host six Challenger Baseball clinics across Canada this summer:
Abbotsford, BC: Tuesday, July 7 at Delair Park
St. John's, NFLD: Monday, July 20 at St. Pat's Ballpark
Moncton, NB: Tuesday, July 21 at Kiwanis Park
Halifax, NS: Friday, July 24 at Mainland Commons Field
Regina, SK: Monday August 10 at Optimist Field
Erindale, ON: Friday August, 7 at Springfield Park
Montreal, QU: Tuesday, August 18 at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park