Sports & Recreation


The purpose of the Challenger Division is to provide an athletic experience for children who are physically or mentally challenged, in a wholesome, supervised environment, and to expose these children to the benefits offered by team sports. No experience necessary! Volunteers or “Buddies” (ages 14 and up) are always needed! Come and enjoy the fun!


Garden City Challenger Sports are open to both Residents and Non-Residents.  

There are NO fees for ANY Challenger Sports!


Challenger Sports
To download an application click here.


The below information is likely to change and new sports may be added, always call to verify the time and location of practices.


Garden City Challenger Baseball – (Spring & Fall) The Spring 2018 Season Starts on Saturday, April 21st; Saturdays, 9:30am, at the Garden City Community Park (behind the pool – right parking lot in back) open to residents and non-residents (ages 5 – 18, 21 if still in school).  Please bring a mitt. No experience necessary. Please contact Anna Dragone at or 516-437-0521 for details.


Garden City Challenger Basketball –  (Winter) Saturdays from 12:30pm to 2:00 (for the younger athletes) and then from 2:00pm to 3:30pm (for the older athletes) at the Garden City Middle School (at the corner of Stewart Ave and Cherry Valley Road, in Garden City).  Go in the main driveway and circle around the back.  The back door will be open, it is right near the gym.  Runs every Saturday until Mid-March.  If you have a jersey, please bring it. Open to residents and non-residents, girls and boys – No experience necessary!  Please contact Brian Collins (914) 447-3769 for more information. Volunteers are always needed and welcome!

Garden City Challenger Golf
– (Spring/Summer)  Tuesdays, 6pm – 7:15pm at Eisenhower Park Driving Range in East Meadow. There will be Pros there to teach the players how to play.  Open to 5-18, 21 if still in school. NO experience. Bring clubs, if not, they will be provided.  Please contact Anna Dragone at or 516-437-0521 for details.


Garden City Challenger Lacrosse – 
Click here Fall Schedule and Flyer to find out when and where games and practices will take place. The program is open to boys and girls from 6 to 18 (21 years old of athlete is still in school) with special needs. Each athlete can play at their own level. If you have played lacrosse before, or never even picked up a stick, please join! Volunteers needed (middle school and high school age) to assist with the program. Donations of any lacrosse equipment (sticks, helmets, gloves, etc.) are appreciated! Anyone interested in playing or volunteering, or donating equipment please email Brian Collins.


NCPAL Special Needs Lacrosse – $50 registration fee. The NCPAL Special Needs Unit is happy to announce their spring & summer 2017 Special Needs Lacrosse program. This year’s game and special event schedule (below) will include more dates with our friends from the GC, HHH and Bayshore “Challengers” Lax groups. Through our friends at the LIMLF and others, we have had some equipment and uniforms donated so all of our Special Needs Laxers will be outfitted to play! The practices will be held at MacArthur High School (GPS to Field: MacArthur High School – 3369 Old Jerusalem Road Levittown, NY 11756). We will have plenty of experienced and eager volunteers who will be helping our players to have the best Lacrosse experience possible! If you have any questions about this Special Needs Lacrosse program, please contact Mike Nelson at 516-241-3680.   Schedule    Flyer


Garden City Challenger Soccer/TOPSoccer (Spring & Fall) Garden City TOPSoccer’s Spring 2018 season starts Saturday, April 7th from 11:30am – 1pm at Tullamore Park in Garden City. The program is open to pre-k through 12th grade and both Garden City residents and non-residents are welcome. There is no cost to play and uniform shirts and soccer balls are provided. Soccer shoes and shorts are recommended. Players must wear shin guards. Middle School and High School age volunteers are also needed to work with the players. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any questions or need directions to Tullamore Park please contact Andy Garger at or 516-775-8058. To Register click here.


Garden City Challenger Platform Tennis –  Starts February 9, 2017 – Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Garden City Country Club (Entrance to the Platform Tennis Courts is off of Tanners  Pond Road just south of the rail road tracks). Open to 5-18yrs. (21 yrs if still in school) NO experience necessary. Bring paddle, if not, one will be provided. Contact Anna Dragone at or 516-437-0521 for details.


Garden City Challenger Tennis – (Summer)  Challenger Tennis starts Tuesday July 25 In the (Indoor Air-conditioned Tennis bubble) at the Garden City Community Park (behind the pool to the right side as you enter). It will be run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00, and it will run through August 17. Open to ages 5-18, 21 if still in school. NO experience necessary. NO fee. Open to residents and non-residents. Bring tennis racket or one will be supplied. Contact Anna Dragone at or 516-437-0521 for details.


Challenger Athletics Inc. (Challenger Lacrosse – South Shore) – For details, please visit their website at



More Sports & Recreational Opportunities


AMC Theaters Sensory Friendly Films – This program provides a special opportunity for families to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!


Autism Theatre Initiative – Making Theatre Accessible to Autistic Children and Adults – Each show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production are made, including the reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. Plus, in the theatre lobby there are quiet and activity areas, staffed with autism specialists, for those who need to leave their seats during the performance.


Ballet For All Kids – an all inclusive program that teaches classical ballet using a wide variety of teaching methods to accommodate all styles of learning including: visual learning, auditory learning, vestibular learning, and emotional intelligence. This method has been very successful in teaching children within the Autism Spectrum, children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, children with Anxiety Disorders, Behavioral issues, ADHD and neuro-typical children. Free Trial class offered! Registration is on-going and class tuition is $80.00 a month. Classes will take place Wednesdays 4:00pm at You Should Be Dancing! (412 8th Ave. New York, NY 10001). New Sunday classes at 10:00am are being held at the Long Island City School of Ballet (44-02 23rd St. Floor 2, New York, NY 11101).


Be the Best Sport – Be the Best Sport is focused on the athletic development of children with Special Needs. Our mission is to create and provide fun and exciting programs for children with special needs ages 18 and younger; such programs will offer recreational sports for the children and their families. To Register please Call 516.453.0990


Dancing Dreams, a non-profit dance program for children with physical and medical challenges located 190 Glen Head Road Glen Head, NY 11545. Boys and girls ages 3-18 with physical challenges are welcome to join our program. Classes are taught by physical therapists and each child is paired with a 1:1 Helper. Participants are exposed to various genres of dance including ballet, tap, modern and hip-hop. A full-scale onstage performance every spring culminates the year. To enroll or for information call: 516.659.8704 or email:


The Family Center for Autism – The Family Center for Autism is Long Island’s first venue that will provide a lifespan of services to children on the Spectrum and a lifeline of support to families who love them. Located in Garden City, their four-story building complete with recreational center (Sporting opportunities taught by Be The Best Sport), Internet café and parking offers a full range of therapeutic, educational, social, recreational and vocational programming for the person with Autism and a wealth of support, informational, respite and social opportunities to their parents, siblings and other family members. In addition to the services, they also create family friendly events. Questions? Contact Tina Moreno at 516-741-9000 Ext. 484.


Herrill Lanes, New Hyde Park, Fall Bowling Bowling_New_Hyde_Park.01


Hope Fitness – Making fitness accessible for ALL abilities


HorseAbility – Therapeutic Riding Program, Hippotherapy Program, and Summer Day Camp offers a wide range of horse-related programs to children, adults, and families with special needs to promote the physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual well being of its participants.


i Can Bike  – Hosted by the Down Syndrome Advocacy Foundation.  Held at Pratt Recreation Center – Post Campus of Long Island University, 720 Northern Blvd. Brockville, NY 11548. For information or questions about this bike camp please e-mail Susan at, call 516-928-7008 or visit their website. You can also download a rider application and/or volunteer application here!


Infiniti Elite Gymnastics – Special Needs Class for Boys and girls, Ages 4 – 11 years. The classes are with parent participation to encourage their child both physically and socially. Students will begin to learn basic gymnastic skills in a fun and positive environment. Class time is one hour in duration.


Kids Learning Loft – a private facility in Nassau county providing various unique education and behavior intervention services to school aged children. KLL specializes in children with developmental disabilities, specifically autism spectrum. They have also expanded their strategies in working with individuals with ADD/ADHD and typically developing children with social or academic difficulties. They offer classes in yoga, art, cooking, music and social skills.


Kids Plus Inc. – Organization dedicated to researching, creating and providing therapeutic recreation programs which include developmental sports programs and structured recreational activities that promote, through participation, the physical, social and emotional well-being of children with developmental disabilities; as well as respite for their families.


Kombative Edge Kids Martial Arts – Martial Arts for Students with Learning Disabilities – contact SIFU Justin (516) 782-9625 or Kombative Edge Kids, Learning Disabled Program with experienced martial arts instructor who has spent 10 years teaching how to apply martial arts to children with learning disabilities.


The League of Yes – The League of Yes’ mission is to establish and sustain baseball programs for people (of all ages) with disabilities. Their objective is to provide an opportunity for those individuals to experience the joy and benefits that come from playing our national pastime. The aim is to help the league’s players develop social skills and increase self esteem, while promoting community support and sponsorship for the league.


Long Island Blues Special Hockey for girls and boys (ages 5 – 18) For questions, contact Laura Russo at 631-255-3305 or at


Manhasset Soccer – Adaptive Soccer Program – Register online under the “adaptive team for special needs” sidebar.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Museum offers a variety of workshops that welcome kids and adults with a range of abilities and learning styles, together with family and friends. Click here for details.


Mid-Island Gymnastics – Their classes offer kids the opportunity to experience the wonderful world of gymnastics in a fun and relaxed environment. Visit their website or call (516) 935-9804


More than A Gym – Therapeutic alternatives developmental gym. They offer a variety of classes for children with special needs and developmental delays. 82 Rushmore St. Westbury, NY 11590 516-761-1239


Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged (Victory Challenge) – brings together athletes from across New York to compete in a weekend-long sporting event. Athletes compete in Track and Field, slalom, archery, swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis. These events offer physically challenged children who are between the ages of five and 21 years old opportunities to participate in sports and recreational activities which are adapted to best suit their unique abilities. The participants consist of some 1,200 young athletes who are physically disabled, visually impaired, or blind, hearing impaired or deaf, and those with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries or Les Autres, which include arthritis and muscular dystrophy. Contact your school for details about participating.


Nassau County Police Athletic League (PAL), Special Needs Unit

Summer Tee Ball Program

Summer Karate

Fall Basketball – click for details Basketball_Nassau_County

Fall Yoga  – click for details  Yoga_Fall_Session_Hicksville.jpg

Fall Bootcamp – click for details Boot_Camp_Hicksville.01.jpg

Fall Bowling – click for details  Saturday_Bowling_Wantagh.jpg


The New York Equestrian Center – Located in West Hempstead, NY, next to the 775-acre Hempstead Lake State Park, has been providing services at their facility for over 90 years. For information on their special needs riding program contact their director, Jeannine Mahoney at 631-121-9544.


The New Victory – At The New Victory, they believe the performing arts should be for everyone. They committed to being a cultural home for New York families and are excited to again have four events in our season that are accessible to individuals with ASD or sensory sensitivity.  Learn more about the specific accommodations, support resources and the productions themselves here.


Pal-O-Mine – Their mission is to provide a comprehensive therapeutic equine program that uses horses to facilitate growth, learning and healing.


POWER PALS – Power Pals is running a program called “Meet Me At the Gym,” that teaches tweens and teens how to navigate the fitness gym. This program will focus on fitness and the importance of being healthy. Contact them at


The Rebecca Center for Music Therapy at Molloy College – Programs are individualized and specifically designed for children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger’s Syndrome, Down’s syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities and other developmental or emotional challenges.


Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program – organization dedicated to providing challenged individuals with the opportunity to successfully participate in all levels of mainstream running, walking or wheelchair racing year round.


Sensational Development – Occupational Therapy


Shine (Special Horses Instructing Nobel Equestrians – is an equine program serving individuals with special needs since 2006. They accommodate individuals from 3-103 years old and work with a variety of special needs from developmental to various physical disabilities. Their goal is to introduce riders to the special bond they can have with horses.


Smuggler’s Notch Adaptive Program (SNAP) in VERMONT – dedicated to providing therapeutic recreation for children and adults of all abilities in a supportive environment. Experiences are tailored to meet the needs and goals of each individual. The ratio of counselor to program guest is based on the individual needs of each person.


Special Action For Escape (S.A.F.E Personal Safety Programs, Alternate to traditional Self Defense programs for individuals of all abilities) For 16 yrs and up. 


Special Olympics – runs MANY sports programs on Long Island – contact or visit their website


The Starry Night Café – a unique experience that caters to the creative talents of adults with disabilities by providing a safe and stimulating environment where individuals can socialize and express themselves through poetry readings, musical and vocal performance and by actually running the café themselves.


Surfers Healing seeks to enrich the lives of children with autism and the lives of their families by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. Registration for summer session dates opens in May. All registration takes place through the Surfer’s Healing Website.


Surfer’s Way is a non-profit organization designed to offer children with special needs the opportunity to experience the exhilaration and liberation of surfing. They offer free surf outings during the summer at Riverside Beach in Long Beach, NY. Visit their website for further details and dates.


Team Heroes Sports – is a non-profit organization on Long Island that provides families of children with autism the opportunity to participate in sports in an integrated setting, and provides materials/supplies they need in order to educate their child.


Theresa Academy for Performing Arts – TAPA’s primary goal of their classes is for the children to experience the joy of dance, drama, art, and music. Their teachers use a wide variety of teaching methods to accommodate all styles of learning. There are many other benefits to the children who participate including improvement in coordination, overall fitness, focus, listening, balance, self-esteem, self-expression, rhythm, and musicality. For more information visit call (516) 432-0200 or email