Young Athletes™ is an innovative sports play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities, designed to introduce them to the world of sports prior to Special Olympics eligibility at age 8.


Young Athletes™ is designed for children, ages 2 to 7, to focus on fundamental skills that will help a child improve physically, cognitively, and socially. Activities include games, songs, and fun with siblings and other children. Through practicing sports skills in a one-on-one environment, our Young Athletes gain motor skills like balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination. 

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! Special Olympics PA is proud to offer this program at no-cost to families thanks to the generous support of sponsors and incredible volunteers.

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 email us at 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!

2023 Spring Session – CLICK TO REGISTER NOW!

LOCATION: Northeast YMCA (11088 Knights Road)
Sunday, March 19 – Sunday, May 21
3:00pm – 4:00pm – Intro Play (ideal for youngest athletes)
4:00pm – 5:00pm – Intro Sports

Future Athletes/Participants

ALL athletes (new and returning) need to submit the YA Registration Form.  If you do not consent to Emergency Medical Care, please complete the Emergency Medical Care Refusal Form (must be completed by a parent or guardian). Each athlete is required to submit this once per calendar year. For a paper application, please contact us at


There are two forms that parents/guardians will need to fill out for their child before they can participate – the YA Registration Form.  If you do not consent to Emergency Medical Care, please complete the Emergency Medical Care Refusal Form (must be completed by a parent or guardian). 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 backup list. 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 programs, 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 last 10 years, you will also be required to conduct an FBI Fingerprinting. Once you are confirmed for a location we will provide you with step by step instructions on how to complete the background checks.

Help Wanted! 

We are currently seeking candidates for a Young Athletes Coordinator volunteer position. The Young Athletes Coordinator is responsible for the program coordination, participant and volunteer recruitment and communication with families for all community-based Young Athletes programming and events in Philadelphia. This is a great opportunity for anyone seeking an internship and/or anyone inspired to help us grow inclusion across Philadelphia’s neighborhoods! Submit your resume and cover letter to Chase Trimmer, SOPA Philadelphia Program Director, at with the subject line “SOPA Philadelphia Young Athletes Coordinator”. If you are applying for the position as part of an educational requirement or course credit, please provide details on any reporting requirements with your program.

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





The space for the Philadelphia Young Athletes Program in partnership with Special Olympics PA Philadelphia is generously donated by the Greater Philadelphia YMCA! Learn more about their Philadelphia locations and how you can become a member! A big special thank you to the Northeast Philadelphia YMCA.