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Great Valley Community Organization

General Info

The purpose of Challenger Gym is to provide a community gym program for kids in the Great Valley School District who have physical and/or other special challenges. The emphasis is on having fun, providing physical activities in which the kids can successfully participate, and forging relationships between kids with special challenges and GVHS High School students.

 

Children participating are paired with one or two high school students. There are five or six different activities during the one-hour session. There has been such a great response from the kids as far as enthusiasm and excitement. Kids with varying abilities are participating ranging from driving power wheelchairs to being able to run the length of a basketball court.

 

The kids might work individually with their high school buddy on an activity such as throwing tennis balls to targets taped to a wall. Then we get back together and one by one throw balls to a large target. When a child announced last week "OK time to cheer for me" the high school students responded with lots of laughs and cheers and it was evident that everyone was having fun.

 

The program was obviously created to fill a niche for kids who would have difficulty participating in traditional community sports programs. Unexpectedly, the benefits to our high school students are also enormous. We are seeing high school kids becoming very comfortable working with kids with varied disabilities. There will certainly be a life-long impact on their interactions with people with differing abilities. As one high school student remarked "This is actually really fun. " It has been great that Challenger Gym is turning out to be such a positive experience for all the kids involved.

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