Recreation Opportunities

AccesSport America is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery of higher function, fitness, and fun for children and adults with disabilities through high challenge sports and individual training.  Its high-challenge sports program includes a variety of water sports (kayaking, windsurfing, water skiing, outrigger canoeing), as well as cycling and soccer, including some programs for the whole family.  They have developed innovative adaptive equipment to assist people in overcoming a variety of physical challenges. For more information call 617-303-2456; visit their web site:, 119 High Street, Acton, MA 01720, 978-264-0985 or email:

Concord Carlisle Community Swim and Health Center - Open in April 2006. It is a public facility and will be open to Concord/Carlisle residents and neigboring towns.  The building is located on the grounds of the Concord Carlisle High School, 500 Walden Street, Concord,  MA 01742.  The facility has: 4 swimming pools (recreation/lap pool, diving pool, warm water pool, and toddler pool), spectator seating for 175 people, 2 fitness rooms with over 50 pieces of cardiovascular and strength equipment, multiple family changing rooms & locker rooms.  Programs will include: lap & fitness swimming for families and individuals, swimming lessons for children, adults, parents & infants, senior swim & fitness both in and out of the water, low impact aerobics in the pool or fitness center, special needs programs for handicapped and challenged individuals, many more.  Visit their web site:  or email:, C. C. Pools, Inc. office, 66 Commonwealth Avenue Concord, MA  01742, 978-371-4936.

Concord Adult & Community Education - open to Concord and neighboring towns, there are programs for all ages.  All programs are open to individuals with disabilities.   The office is located at 120 Meriam Rd, Concord, MA 01742.  Class are fee based,  and held at Concord Carlisle High School, and other locations around town. Course catalogs are mailed out to every household in Carlisle and Concord and to several surrounding towns, 4 times annually and visit their website:  For more information call: 978-318-1540, or email:

Challenger Sport League the goal is to play with no pressure and for special needs children who would never consider playing otherwise. It is to educate the typical peers and their parents about sportsmanship and learning the enjoys of playing a sport.   The program is available to boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 19 with all types of physical and developmental disabilities.  There may be no fee or small fee to participate.  Any town can setup a challenger sport league.  Children  with disabilities are allowed to try out and play for any team they want, but it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the typical children.  This can be discouraging for the child that are struggling in so other many areas, having the challenger team is other option for them.  We know of two teams one in Andover, another in Woburn (Other towns that are have started setting up leagues are: Braintree, Sandwich, Sudbury, Wakefield).

Skating Program, where kids can learn to skate or play hockey.  The hockey session is 4 weeks (one hour a week).  They meet on Sunday mornings, beginning September, at the O'Brien Skating Rink in Woburn.

Baseball Program, In Little League baseball, there is a division known as the Challenger Division, for special needs youngsters.  Challengers Division use a "buddy" system, whereby each kid on the team has a helper who shadows him or her throughout the game (example would be pushing a wheelchair, pointing out where to throw the ball).  The buddies can be siblings, cousins, friends or parents.  In the challenger league everyone gets up to bat, no one strikes out and no one gets tagged out.  The season starts the first week in May, games are usually on Saturdays.  The season will last approximately 2 months.  Visit Andover website:  In Woburn the ages are 5-21 and there is a small fee.
For more information, Challenger Skating and Softball:Woburn, Brenda Shea, 781-933-0939.  Andover call Matt Haymer at 978-502-4375 or via email:

Sudbury Little League, Inc.
(in March 2005) is considering the creation of a Challenger Division for players ages 6-18 (22 if still in school).  Baseball games would be on Saturday or Sunday afternoons in the Sudbury area.  Contacts are:  Art Krusinski at 978-443-0791 e-mail:  or Carole Ann Baer at 978-443-6684 e-mail:
(There are teams in:  Andover, Brockton, Foxboro, Norwood, Sandwich (kids from all of Cape Cod), & Sudbury,).

The Needham Soccer Club, TOPSoccer program for physically and mentally challenged children ages 8 to 17. The program is free of charge. The sessions take place during September and October.  Each session runs for approximately 50 minutes, in the early evening at DeFazio field.  Players will work on soccer skills, learn teamwork and participate in scrimmages. Contacts are: Colin Corkery 781-449-8940 or email: or Linda Guild 781-444-3444 or email: with questions, and to request an application to sign up for the program.  Volunteers are always welcome to help out.

CHAMPS (Children and Adults have Arts and Music Programs) are led by music/art therapists with training and experience working with people with special needs. The groups are geared toward individuals who need greater support to realize their strengths and goals may benefit from using the expressive arts to communicate require opportunities that increase attention/engagement need practice in building peer relationships/socialization.  Held at various locations around the Boston area.  For more information, Call Karen Wise 617-288-5858 ext.17, or Ericka Gonzalez ext. 10 or email:,  visit their web site:, Boston Institute for Arts Therapy, 90 Cushing Avenue, Dorchester, MA  02125, 617-288-5858.

Fernald Pool,  Mass Commonwealth - Mental Retardation Dept, DMR Facilities, Fernald Developmental Center.  
The Walter E. Fernald Association is a non-profit organization devoted to organizing, operating and maintaining programs that promote the general welfare of persons classified as developmentally disabled, particularly those residing at or served by the Fernald Center.  The pool is free to families with disabled children, the pool has a zero entry, lifts, and is kept at a therapitic temperature.  Activities are open to members of the community, such as the Activities Center, the swimming pool, the gym, the recycling center – all located at the Fernald Center in Waltham.  Visit their website: Fernald Greenhouses - 200 Trapelo Road - 781-894-3600, 781-899-4861 (TTY).

Handi-Racket Tennis instructional program for people with disabilities. It was founded in 1976-77 by Laury Hammel (Owner of The Longfellow Clubs) and Vicki Hammel, of Parents & Friends of Handicapped Children, and the NEPTA (New England Professional Tennis Association).   The Program meets on Saturdays at The Longfellow Club and always has a USPTA professional in charge. The current Executive Director is Sylvia Swartz, a member of the USPTA and a Longfellow teaching pro since 1986. Handi-Racketeers comprises the largest group of tennis athletes at the Massachusetts Special Olympics. 
For more information email: Sylvia Swartz, or call 508-358-7355.

Kartwheels in Motion is a physical activity program for children with developmental, emotional and physical challenges. It meets at the Boston Sports Center (BSC) in Waltham (Winter Street), (formally know as HealthPoint).  Class are offer during the week, in the late afternoon or early evening. Activities take place at the pool or gymnasium. Silbing are invite to join the group.  For more information, contact Jeannie Watson, Director, 781-893-6516, email:, Kartwheels in Motion, Inc.

Local Social Development businesses, run small activity groups that use physical activities to help children work on their social skills and self confidence.  For children ages approx. 6 - 14 that provides an opportunity for developing social and physical skills,  increased self confidence and sense of self worth, as well as expert assessments and supports.   Classes are 40 to 70 minutes in length and are tailored so that children are matched with others of comparable age, physical skill, developmental level, cognitive abilities, and social /emotional maturity. The group meets weekly at the same day and time, and with the same counselors. They all seem to rent space from local churches. We have 4 of these business listed on Therapy web page.

Minuteman Arc for Human Services, located in West Concord center, has been focused on expanding its recreational programs for youth. It also offers a daily after school program, which is also open during school vacations. The recreational programs include: weekly pottery classes (priced on a per class basis), a bowling league, and various outings to such locations as Drumlin Farm, the New England Sports Museum, and Bobby's Farm (for a sleigh ride). All Minuteman activities are well suspervied by highly trained staff, and everyone has enjoyable time.  The Arc also runs Special Olympics programs in soccor, baseball, and bowling.  For more information,  Call: Susan Mayer, Family Services Director, Minuteman ARC, 978-371-1543, email: smayer@minutemanarc.orgVisit their website: www.minutemanarc.org1269 Main Street, Concord, MA  01742

Outdoor Explorations (OE) is a not-for-profit that provides inclusive outdoor recreation throughout the greater Boston area. OE offers a wide variety of programs (kayaking, backpacking, sailing, white water rafting, rock climbing, high ropes/low ropes, cycling, snowshoeing) for youth, adults and families.  OE programs are accessible for people of all abilities, including physical, sensory, cognitive, emotional, psychiatric, and multiple disabilities.  OE staff have extensive experience in providing safe, quality, enjoyable programs. OE offers a chance for people of all ages to try new adventures in a supportive environment - we offer programs ranging from one day clinics to overnight adventures.  For lists our open enrollment" programs and more information visit our website: In addition, OE contracts private programs for organizations as a fun way to get outdoors with your nonprofit, school, or other group.  Outdoor Explorations, 98 Winchester Street, Medford, MA  02155, or email:, or 781-395-4999.  Tommi Mann, CTRS, Program Coordinator & Certified Wilderness First Responder.

Town's Recreation Departments, most programs are open to participants from neighboring towns. There are programs for preschoolers and well as for youth/teens and adults. Check if there are special programming for children with disabilities.  All programs are open to individuals with disabilities.

Concord Recreation Department programs for children, teens and adults.  Programs are open to participants from neighboring towns.  All programs are open to individuals with disabilities, for more details call Danner DeStephano Director, Hunt Recreation Center, 90 Stow Street, Concord, MA 01742.  For more information visit our website: call:  978-318-3035.

Lexington Recreation Department's programs are also open to participants from neighboring towns. There are programs for preschoolers and well as for youth/teens and adults. There is no special programming for children with disabilities, all programs are open to individuals with disabilities. For more information visit our website or call 781-862-0500, ext. 262.

Belmont S.P.O.R.T. is supported by the Belmont Recreation Department and The Belmont S.P.O.R.T. parents group.  They offer sport training and social activities for people with developmental disabilities. It is open to neigboring towns.  They offer a wide variety of recreational activities (such as floor hockey, basketball, bowling) and lessons (e.g., swimming, ice skating) for children and adults and includes opportunities for participation in the Special Olympics.  S.P.O.R.T. also sponsors a variety of social activities. Program information and registration materials are sent out twice a year (in August and December) and are also available at S.P.O.R.T.'s website: To get on the mailing list, contact the Belmont Recreation Department at 617-484-5134. To learn more about Belmont S.P.O.R.T., contact Sue Weiner, c/o the Recreation Department. 

Arlington Recreation Department offers programs for children and adults with special needs. It runs Special Olympics programs in swimming and track. Other recreational programs include bowling, skating, and "Sports and Games" for children ages 5 to 9. In the summer, the Arlington Recreation Department runs a full-day recreational program which provides additional supports to children with special needs, and it also has school vacation camps, which operate Tuesday through Friday of vacation weeks, from 9 to 3.   For more information, visit our website or call 781-316-3880.

YMCA are accessible and offers a broad range of classes for the whole family.
Waltham Family YMCA, has indoor and outdoor pools.  For more information call 617-782-3535, visit Boston website: There are many locations to choose from. 

We  would like to acknowledge Helen G., one of The Belmont Special Education Advisory Council member for providing us with information and writing the article that appear in the Belmont PAC's newsletter, reporting on the Recreation Opportunities evening that was held in Belmont on October 22, 2003.

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Last updated June 22, 2006
By Melody Orfei