SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Regional YMCA and Special Olympics New York have partnered to launch an inclusive sports program for children with and without intellectual disabilities called Young Athletes. Young Athletes is a free 10-week program designed for children ages 2-7. It introduces children to basic sport skills like running, kicking and throwing. The program, which is open to the community, offers families, teachers, and caregivers the chance to share the joy of sports with all children.
The program kicked off Sunday, March 3rd at the Saratoga Regional YMCA’s Wilton branch. Young Athletes meets every Sunday now through April 28th and rotates through the Wilton, Saratoga Springs, and Malta branches of the Saratoga Regional YMCA using program space such as the field house, gymnasium, gymnastics center and group exercise classrooms. The program fosters motor skills development, as well as cognitive and social skills development through participation in age-appropriate and fun activities. YMCA staff and volunteers work one-on-one and in small groups with children moving through various activity stations.
“The introduction of routine physical activity at a young age sets the stage for a healthier lifestyle, and encourages friendships and learning,” said Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “This program can be life changing for those who participate – bringing fun, inclusive play opportunities for children with and without intellectual differences as well as their parents, families, and communities. Thank you to Saratoga Regional YMCA for partnering with us to champion the Young Athletes Program and make a lasting difference in children’s lives.”
“The YMCA as an organization believes that all children, no matter their ability, deserve the opportunity to grow as individuals through programs and services like Young Athletes,” said Steve Butler, Membership and Program Executive for the Saratoga Regional YMCA. “I can’t think of a better organization than Special Olympics New York to partner with, facilitate and advance adaptive programming at the Saratoga Regional YMCA. Young Athletes is just the beginning.”
GALLERY: Extra Special Athletes – All Photos – Cathy Duffy
For more information, or to register or volunteer for this program, visit www.srymca.org or contact Steve Butler at 518-583-9622 ext. 139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.