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Great Valley Community Organization

Challenger Gym

About Challenger Gym

Challenger Gym is a recreational community gym program for school age kids from first grade through high school who have extra challenges. It is a fun hour of play where friendships are forged, and games and activities are adapted to make everyone feel successful. For many years, Challenger Gym has allowed those who may not find success in traditional community sports programs to laugh, run, jump, throw, make friends and shine!

The program is generally held once a week for about an hour over a six-week period in the spring (March and April) and fall (November and December). The participating children are paired with one or two high school students based on the level of assistance they need to participate successfully. There are five or six different activities during the one-hour session such as obstacle courses, bowling, balloon fun, relay races and lots of throwing games. Each child is unique, so activities are adapted as needed. Our participants in the past have had a wide range of varying abilities, from driving power wheelchairs to being able to run the length of a basketball court. Some work individually on skills, but there are always large group activities designed to get everyone involved. There is plenty of enthusiasm and excitement with squeals of laughter, as the emphasis is on fun!

At the heart of the program are the dedicated high school buddy volunteers who remain the same each week. Under the direction of Wendy Morris, a licensed and practicing physical therapist, the “buddies” are guided in building relationships and helping everyone to successfully participate. Over the years, the response has been fantastic. Friendships have blossomed and a comfort level interacting with people of all abilities has left life-long impressions on many.

This program is funded as a community outreach program of the Great Valley Community Organization. There is no cost to participants to register. We encourage those who can to help support this and other community programs by donating to the Great Valley Community Organization through the Support GVCO page