Young Athletes Clubs

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What is Young Athletes?

Young Athletes is a play-based skills development program for children 2-7 years old. This 8 week program focuses on building developmentally appropriate sports and motor skills through exciting games and activities accompanied by song. Each week focuses on one of the following skill categories:

  • Foundational Skills
  • Walking and Running
  • Balance and Jumping
  • Trapping and Catching
  • Throwing
  • Striking
  • Kicking
  • Advanced Sports Skills

Who can participate in Young Athletes?

Young Athletes is a unified program, meaning children with and without intellectual and/or developmental disability participate alongside each other to build friendship through play. Siblings of participants with intellectual and/or developmental disability, as well as parents, are encouraged to join the group. All children participating must be 2-7 years old.

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Young Athletes in the Community

Young Athletes clubs may be held indoors or outdoors, depending on the season. These groups meet together at regularly scheduled times over the course of the 8 week program. Each lesson is guided by a trained volunteer leader. We encourage our leaders to be creative when planning their activities, so each club will look a little different based on the needs and interests of the children participating. As always, there is no cost to participate in Young Athletes, regardless of where the club might be held.

Young Athletes at Home

There may not always be a group meeting near you, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t participate in Young Athletes activities. Special Olympics International has created an excellent home-based Young Athletes program that may be fun for your family to participate in together. You can find all the resources for participating at home here.

This resource page provides follow along videos with Young Athletes coaches around the world, a guide for caregivers, activity ideas for at home play and illustrated exercise flashcards. You can always use these resources completely for free. Please register all children participating and we will ship your free Young Athletes t-shirts directly to you!

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How can I start a Young Athletes club?

If you’d like to start Young Athletes in your community, please reach out to our Health Program Manager at or (801) 363-1111 ext 106. To start a new Young Athletes group, we’ll need the following information:

  • Name and contact information for a volunteer club leader willing to commit to meeting at least once a week for entire 8 week program.
  • Location of club (we can help you secure a location if needed).

We will provide any necessary leader training and all materials to you free of charge. Young Athletes equipment kits, containing plastic junior tennis racquets, soft balls, juggling scarves, colored rubber spots, colored plastic cones and more, will be sent directly to the leader. All participants will need to be registered in the Young Athletes program to receive shirts for your group. Remember, Young Athletes is free for all participants. As a group leader, running the club is not your financial responsibility. Please work closely with our Health Program Team to ensure that all participants have an excellent experience free of charge.