What We Do

Young Athletes Program



Special Olympics Young Athletes is an inclusive sport and play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities (ID), ages 2 to 7 years old. Young Athletes introduces basic sport and motor skills, like running, jumping, balancing, kicking, throwing and locomotor movements. Young Athletes offers families, teachers, caregivers and people from the community the chance to share the joy of sports with all children. Children of all abilities take part, and they all benefit. 

Children learn how to play with others and develop important skills for learning. Children also learn to share, take turns and follow directions. These skills help children in family, community and school activities.

Young Athletes is a fun way for children to get fit. It is important to teach children healthy habits while they are young. This can set the stage for a life of physical activity, friendships and learning. Young Athletes is easy to do and fun for all. Activities can be done at home, in schools or in the community using the Young Athletes Activity Guide and basic equipment.

Young Athletes: Level 2

The Level 2 program can serve as a next step in participation that bridges the gap between Special Olympics Young Athletes (ages 2-7) and competitive Special Olympics sports (ages 8+) concepts and models. While children can participate in the Young Athletes curriculum through age seven, as children get older, many are often ready for more sport-specific coaching and training.

This is where the Level 2 classes comes in! Children who age out of Young Athletes can continue to work on their skills in specific sport(s) through structured participation and eventually transition to compete on a junior’s team in the community. A variety of sports can be covered during a Level 2 program, such as track & field, soccer, floorball, softball, basketball, tennis, badminton, volleyball and flag football. Each program site chooses 1-2 sports a season to cover over multiple weeks. Sport specific skills are covered as well as different game play application. Children ages 6-12 years old with and without intellectual disabilities are eligible to participate.

Ultimately, the goal is to keep young children and their families engaged in the Special Olympics Massachusetts support network for life!

Young Athletes Zoom Classes

Session Information:

Monday Afternoon Sessions

  • This program is run by Young Athletes Coaches Eric Archambault, Margaret Ford and Gene Callahan
  • Dates: January 4th, 11th, 26th, February 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, March 1st. 
  • Time: 5:00 pm – 5:40 pm
  • Please register to participate HERE.
  • The link to access the Zoom meeting room can be found HERE.

During each session, we will be covering a variety of fun activities which aid in motor skill development through obstacle courses, animal games, follow the leader, basics of throwing & catching, etc. We will also focus on some specific skill development in the sports of floor hockey and basketball.

Virtual Story Time

Sponsored by Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

We are excited to share that we will continue on with our Story Time Zooms heading into 2021!

We meet every Thursday at 5:30 pm.

We will be starting back up on Thursday, January 7th

Each week, we read a fun children’s story, with interactive movements incorporated into the reading. The link to register for the Zoom sessions can be found HERE.

To learn more about PLAN of MA & RI please visit, www.planofma-ri.org.

Young Athletes At-Home Resources

Check out the different ways you can set up activities to practice At Home!

You can also refer to these Quick Tips of how to set up your own at-home schedule and follow along with the Family Flashcards which come in multiple languages.

Additional resources to utilize at home such as videos and printables can also be found Here.

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

Special Olympics Massachusetts has entered phase 3 of returning to play as of Monday, August 3rd. 

We will continue hosting our virtual Zoom classes into 2021 and will continue to monitor the state guidelines to determine when its appropriate to set up in-person programs again. For any questions, please contact Eric Archambault.

Find a Program Near You

Program Locations

Please refer to the map below to find a Young Athletes program location near you. You can select the icons on the map which includes a link to each program’s registration form. All programs meet at different times during the year. As that information becomes available, we will inform you through email.

Any new Young Athlete program locations will be added to this map throughout the year as well.

Starting a New Program:

If interested in learning more about how to start a Young Athletes program within your local community groups, Early Childhood Centers, Pre-K/Elementary Schools, agencies and universities, we would love to work with you to make that happen! The Special Olympics Young Athletes Resources page contains everything you would need to start a program including the Young Athletes activity guide, instructional videos and coaches training guides.

Please contact Eric Archambault for more details.

Sign up for our Young Athletes email list!

Athlete Transition

Once an athlete reaches the age of 8 years old, they become eligible to join one of our community based programs that train and compete in the different Olympic style sports that Special Olympics Massachusetts offers. This is the next step in participation after completing the Young Athletes and/or Developmental Sports program.

To find a community program near you, please contact Eric Archambault for more details.