"Children and young adults with special needs should be able to participate in and enjoy sports just like everyone else!"
- Paul Hooker, Founder
When Paul Hooker was coaching a Little League Baseball team one day in 1990, he turned to a little girl in a wheelchair and asked her how she was doing. Frustrated with watching from the sidelines as her brother played, the little girl replied, “this stinks.” That two-word answer sparked a mission to create a program that would enable children and young adults of all abilities to enjoy and participate in sports.
Driven by this newfound philosophy, Paul and his wife Margo began a grass-roots softball league near their hometown in Central New Jersey, called Challenged Youth Sports. Over the years, the small league grew from a single-sport season to a year-round organization with nearly a dozen sports, impacting hundreds of families in the region.
As the 25th anniversary of Challenged Youth Sports approached, a new mission became clear: serve the special needs community on a national scale. In 2014 the organization reinvented itself as RallyCap Sports, and set out to create regional chapters at universities across the nation. RallyCap Sports launched its first chapter at Bowling Green State University, establishing the model for future chapters.
What We've Achieved
Since 1990, the milestones achieved by Challenged Youth Sports (the precursor to RallyCap Sports) are many. With the same sense of mission and purpose, RallyCap Sports aims to create opportunities for people of all abilities to come together for recreation and fun in communities across the country.
- With the addition of an expansion chapter at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio RallyCap Sports now serves more than 200 special needs families
- Combined, there are well over 500 active volunteers serving in RallyCap Sports activities and events.
- To this date, we have given out more than 5,000 trophies to players for participation
- RallyCap Sports' forerunner, Challenged Youth Sports, located in Middletown, NJ has been running programs since 1990.
- Raised more than $200k for a 1-acre playground for children with special needs in Colts Neck, NJ. Also, a second sensory-rich playground opened in 2009 in Long Branch, NJ.
- More than 8 sports programs are entirely run by an all-volunteer staff of dedicated, caring, young adults and teens.