Young Athletes™ is an 8 week-long early childhood sports play program for children with intellectual disabilities aged 2 to 7 years old that includes games, songs, and other fun! We also welcome children without intellectual disabilities to join in the fun as Unified Partners!


Our young athletes learn basic sports skills like kicking and throwing a ball and playing with others! While young athletes practice their sports skills, they gain motor skills like balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination. In fact, in a recent study, children with developmental delays who participated in a structured 8-week Young Athletes™ program showed significantly more motor development than those who did not participate. Not only that, but their teachers and parents also reported improved confidence, language skills, and social skills. Another benefit was families played more together at home and in the community!

Parents, siblings and other children without intellectual disabilities are welcome to join in the fun and participate in a Unified environment helping to encourage an inclusive community! 

There are a few ways you can participate in Young Athletes:

1)  Northeast Philadelphia YMCA (Northeast Philadelphia) – adding in a 5-10 year old program as well!

2)  Christian Street YMCA (South Philadelphia) (Will return Spring 2018)

3) Carousel House *NEW* (West Philadelphia) – adding in a 5-10 year old program as well!

4) William Penn Charter School *NEW* (Roxborough/East Falls area)

5)  Start your own at home, in your community, or at your school!

The Young Athletes Program is turnkey and user-friendly. If you’re interested in launching your own local Young Athletes Program, please contact us. We can work with you to secure resources, materials, and equipment. Young Athletes can be done in schools, in our home or at a local park or community center!

Fall 2017 Program Offerings


1)  Northeast Philadelphia YMCA  (11088 Knights Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154) – FULL

  • Sundays at 2:15pm to 3pm – Traditional Young Athletes Programming. September 24th through November 5th, 2017. Ages 2 through 7 years. In the fitness studio.
  • **NEW** Sundays at 3:15pm to 4pm –  Future Champions: an introduction to sports play. Sunday, September 24th through November 5thAges 5 through 10 years. In the gym (half). Sports like basketball, soccer, floor hockey, etc.

2) *New Location* Carousel House (4300 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131) – FULL

  • Saturday, 2pm-2:40pm – Traditional Young Athletes. September 23rd through November 4th, 2017. Ages 2 through 7 years. In the gym.
  • Saturday, 2:50pm – 3:30pm – Future Champions: Soccer Skills. September 23rd through November 4th, 2017. Ages 5 through 10 years. In the gym (if nice out, will move outdoors)

3) William Penn Charter School *This site is not yet 100% confirmed* (3000 W School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144) – NOW ENROLLING

  • Thursdays, 5:30-6:15pm – Traditional Young Athletes Programming.  Ages 2 through 7 years old. Volunteers not needed; school led.
  • October 5th – November 16th, 2017.

How to register:


  • ALL athletes need to complete the ‘Young Athletes Fall 2017 Registration’.
  • Spring 2017 Returning athletes do not need to submit the Part A or Part  registration forms, however we will need to confirm that I still have your child’s 2017 form on file.
  • New athletes will need to submit all forms.

NEW for 5-10 year olds: we are also offering additional options for children ages 5 – 10 at two of our locations: Northeast and Carousel House. These will be sports introductory sessions meant for older Young Athletes. Northeast YMCA will have a Future Champions introduction to sports play with a variety of sports, and Carousel House will have the same but it will focus specifically on soccer skills. Children ages 5-7 are welcome to sign up for and participate in both sessions as they run back to back: traditional Young Athletes Programming (for kids 2-7) and the new sports skills (kids 5-10).


For volunteers who are returning and have done your clearances, you just need to contact us with your preferred location. Additionally, please let us know if you’re interested in being a lead volunteer. New volunteers, WELCOME! We will work with you separately to conduct your clearances. We need volunteers for all three confirmed locations in North, South and West Philly.


Please do not commit to a program if you are unable to make at least 6 of the 8 sessions. If that is the case, let me know of your interest and providing there are spaces open in the class I will permit your child to join anyway. If a family joins and their child does not attend 6 or more sessions and/or does not give ample proper notice to the lead volunteers, this will be cause for the removal of your child from the current program. They will be welcome to join again in the future.

Click here to have registration forms sent to your inbox! There are two forms that parents/guardians will need to fill out for their child before they can participate. These will be emailed out to confirmed participants. Spots are limited and will be given on a first come first serve basis.


Please do not commit to a program if you are unable to make at least 6 of the 8 sessions. If that is the case, please request to be placed on our call up list from which you will be contacted in the event that there are not enough volunteers on any given day. 

If you are interested in volunteer for any of the above locations, please contact Britt Kleine now to begin the volunteer registration and background check process.

If you wish to learn more about the Young Athletes Program from Special Olympics, click here.

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Speak to our staff about the Young Athletes Program: how to get your child involved or have your child placed on a waiting list for future sessions. OR DO YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER TO WORK WITH OUR YOUNG ATHLETESContact Britt Kleine, Director of Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia.




The space for the Philadelphia Young Athletes Program in partnership with Special Olympics Philadelphia and the YMCA is being generously donated by the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA. Learn more about their Philadelphia locations and how you can become a member! A big special thank you to the Northeast Philadelphia YMCA, Columbia North YMCA and our newest location, the Christian Street YMCA!