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Little League Challenger program jamboree coming up in West Dundee

WEST DUNDEE – Tri-Cities Little League will host the fifth annual Challenger Jamboree on Sept. 11.

District 13 will celebrate another successful year of the Challenger program from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Randall Oaks facilities in West Dundee while hoping to attract new players, volunteers, sponsors and a more widespread awareness of the program through this two-day event.

Challenger is a division of Little League designed for mentally and/or physically challenged children, allowing them to play organized baseball. The Challenger players are able to play baseball on the same fields, using the same equipment, while being cheered on by fans – just like everyday Little League players.

Challenger Jamboree participants will enjoy the camaraderie of team play, make new friends and earn awards for their experience and accomplishments.

The jamboree will feature baseball games, hay rides, crafts, games, face painting and more. Players also may visit the petting zoo and handicapped-accessible golf course.

Baseball games will be played all day Sept. 11 with players ranging in age from 5 to 18, and will include boys and girls with special needs who are matched with Little League players and other kids from the community as their buddies.

As they did throughout the Challenger season, the buddies will play side by side on the field with the special-needs players, assisting them through batting, running the bases, catching and defense, and hanging out in the dugout as they root for their team.

Little League’s District 13 includes 14 neighboring communities, three of which currently have active Challenger divisions – Tri-Cities East and West Dundee; Carpentersville, Sleepy Hollow and Gilberts; Bartlett, and Woodstock.

“Challenger is a great program for everyone involved. The buddies really enjoy spending time with the players as much as the players enjoy getting out there to play the game of baseball. It’s a win-win,” said Mark Johnson, Little League’s Challenger representative and a former coach and board member of Tri-Cities.

For those willing to volunteer or donate, contact Mark Anders at mljanders@sbcglobal.net. Donations will fund trophies, prizes for the children, tents for shelter and food for the event.

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