The Shoreline Buddy Baseball Program is a skill building, non-competitive recreational league for boys and girls with special needs. Buddy Baseball is The Challenger Division of Little League. It is a program for developmentally and physically challenged youth, helping them to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.
The program focuses on experience of team play, exposure to a lifelong skill and participation in one of America’s favorite pastimes. Each player is paired with a “Buddy” to assist the player as needed. The Buddy's primary responsibility is to encourage the player, keep them safe, share in the excitement of the game, and create a fun and successful opportunity for each and every one of them.
This division of Little League fosters friendships and breaks down barriers. Not only do the players experience the thrill of participating, they also get to experience team play, being cheered on by a crowd, and camaraderie. All involved will have fun as friendships are formed and skills are developed.
The Philosophy is to give all children the chance to play baseball in a setting that is fun and supportive. A big part of this, for the players, is to experience the sense of belonging that comes with being a part of a team. In Buddy Baseball, scores don’t count – everybody is a winner. It’s all about acceptance, self-esteem, a positive learning experience and team spirit.
Since the majority of Buddy Baseball players require support to successfully participate, they are paired up with volunteer “buddies” who become their personal guides. The players need varying degrees of support, but whenever possible, they are encouraged to be independent, with “buddies” close by to lend a hand, when necessary.
Far more than the just the basic baseball skills are learned through the experience, the value of the Little League Challenger Division is found in the proven therapeutic and socialization benefits of participating in sports, the strengthening of participants’ self-esteem and the disciplines of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play, which are hallmarks of the Little League program.
Games are one hour long with a 15 minute practice before each game and are played at the Ted Lane baseball complex behind the Westbrook Firehouse. Games are played on Sundays between the hours of 11:30am and 1pm and players from age 4-18 are paired up with buddies aged 10-18.
The Challenger Division was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League International to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to enjoy the game of baseball along with the millions of other children who participate in this sport worldwide. Today, more than 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide.
Those wishing to register for the program, which is free, may do so via the button below, (redirects to Shoreline Buddy Baseball site)