Lafayette Little League: LLL Challenger Division

Monday, June 10
LLL Challenger DIvision

(Updated June 2013)

Developed in 1989, Little League’s Challenger Division allows boys and girls facing physical and mental challenges the opportunity to enjoy the full benefits of Little League in an environment structured to their abilities.

The goal of the Challenger Division is to allow any child in a community to participate in Little League regardless of any challenges that they may face. The Challenger Division is a non-competitive program where everyone leaved the field a winner.

HISTORY:

·         Brian Sibley (LLL President) began discussions regarding implementing the Challenger Division into Lafayette Little League in early 2008.

·         The BOD voted and recommended Board member Bryan Molaison, who has a child with Down Syndrome, to be the commissioner of the new division (Bryan remains the acting commissioner).

·         The Challenger Division became an official division of Lafayette Little league in the Spring of 2008.

·         Existing President Oren Smith and District Administrator Val Domingue have been key contributors to the expansion of Challenger Division at LLL.          

·         Under Oren’s leadership and Val’s continued support, the LLL Challenger Division has played at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA in 2011 and is scheduled to play in the Waco Regional in 2013.                                    

·         In 2013 the division expanded from 2 to 4 teams.

NOTES:

·         The LLL Challenger Division has averaged over 30 kids each season and exceeded 40 kids in 2013.

·         The division plays all of its games at LLL Park on the PeeWee Division field.

·         A Challenger player along with a player from another division or local dignitary is chosen to throw out the first pitch at opening ceremonies each Spring. (The first Challenger game of the season takes place immediately following the Opening Ceremonies -  providing an opportunity for the entire league of over 700 kids to cheer them on.)

·         Each year the division alternates team names.

CHALLENGES AND PARK IMPROVEMENTS:

From the very beginning, the LLL Board of Directors knew that significant changes would need to take place at the park. A few of the initial challenges centered around accessibility, improved restroom facilities, scheduling and education –  both for the parents and the public. They understood that without the public’s support, it would be difficult to address these changes. Fortunately, they embraced the effort, and after a successful Capital Campaign, the following improvements were made and are scheduled to take place:

·         Walkways were added throughout the park (concrete walkways were poured  from covered areas to the entrance of the ballpark along with concrete paths that run between each dugout, and to the new restrooms).                                

·         A new building with new handicap accessible restrooms was constructed.         

·         The expansion of the dugouts on the PeeWee field is scheduled in 2013.

POSITIVE RETURNS:

·         Challenger Parents have made comments that their child prepares their uniform the night before the weekly game.

·         Parents of kids from other divisions have stated that it is the biggest accomplishment at LLL.

·         There is Challenger participation at each years opening ceremonies.

·         Challenger parents have stated that playing ball gives their kids a sense of pride and confidence.                                                                                             

·         Sororities from UL and local high school students participate in some of the Saturday morning games.

·         The kids from each team shake hands following the games and gather at the mound for cheers.

POINTS OF INTEREST:

Challenger Participant Matthew Stevenson (2011) and his brother, Andrew Stevenson (2005), both represented Lafayette Little League in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Andrew now plays for LSU.

Matthew Molaison, a Challenger Division participant, was invited to New York City in 2009 after his photo taken while playing for LLL was 1 of 200 selected to appear in a video for the National Down Syndrome Association. The video was shown in Times Square and was followed by the New York City Buddy Walk in Central Park. 

League Founder, Mr. Buddy Guirivich, has a grandson, Grant, that plays in the league and a daughter, Laura, who is on the League Board of Directors.

Lafayette Parish President’s “Disability Awareness Committee” awarded Lafayette Little League the Merit Award for their work with Special Needs kids.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LAFAYETTE LITTLE LEAGUE’S CHALLENGER DIVISION, HOW YOUR CHILD CAN PARTICIPATE OR HOW YOU CAN HELP,
CONTACT BRYAN MOLAISON AT: bjm042493@bellsouth.net

Or you can email our information officer at: Info@lafayettelittleleague.net

 Links:

http://lafayettechallenger.com/
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3JHXkrHM7A&feature=youtu.be 



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