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)  With us during our Spring or Fall Sessions!

2)  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!

2018 Winter/Spring Programs 

1. Christian Street YMCA
  • 2:15pm-3pm 
2. Northeast YMCA
  • 2:15pm-3pm: 2-7-year-old program 
  • 3:15pm-4pm: 5-10-year old program
Future Athletes/Participants

ALL athletes (new and returning) need to submit the YA Registration Form Part A and YA Registration Part B (if applicable) registration forms. Each athlete is required to submit this once per calendar year. Contact us at if you have any questions. All regsitrations can be submitted to or faxed to 215-671-5033.

Programming for 5-10 year old children: In addition to traditional Young Athletes, which is for 2-7 year olds, we are also offering program options for children ages 5 – 10 at two of our locations: Northeast and Carousel House. These are sports introductory sessions meant for more developed Young Athletes before they are able to enter into our community program, or for those 8-10, in addition to joining our community program.



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. Additionally, please let us know if you’re interested in being a lead volunteer. 

If you are interested in volunteering for any of our program, please contact us to begin the volunteer registration and background check process. All volunteers will be required to create a volunteer profile with Special Olympics PA that will include a full background check. For any volunteer who has lived outside of PA within the least 10 years, you will also be required to conduct a FBI Fingerprinting. Once you are confirmed for a location we will provide you with step by step instructions on how to complete the above.

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

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The space for the Philadelphia Young Athletes Program in partnership with Special Olympics Philadelphia is 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 and Christian Street YMCA. 


A special thank you also goes to our newest Young Athletes partners Carousel House and William Penn Charter School for their generous space donations as well.