Challenger Baseball is making its way to Portage la Prairie for the first time, and it has several members of the minor baseball community excited.

Kayla Reykdal is involved in Portage Minor Baseball, both as a parent and a coach, and describes what the event is about. 

"It's an organization that goes to different communities and has different leagues, that support children with special needs being a part of baseball, and has organized volunteers to help assist with all different disabilities to be able to play the sport of baseball and have fun."

Reykdal notes that this will be a first in the Portage Minor Baseball program.

"We've never been involved in Challenger Baseball before. Portage Minor Baseball approached me, because my son plays for the Grand Slam U9 team, and he's been playing baseball for probably the last five years. They approached me to see if more parents and families with disabilities would be interested in this program coming to Portage. I thought it was a really nice idea that they thought about those kids and athletes, as well as them putting in the effort to bring it here. So, they're trying out a couple days this summer and fall to see how the interest goes, and if it's something to continue in the future."

She also added that this is an important thing for kids and parents in our community.

"Bringing a program like this to Portage for kids with disabilities, and not only the kids, but the parents to see their kids can be involved with a sport or be involved in something that they dreamed their kids would be a part of. With having a disability, sometimes they're not able to be a part of organizations for various reasons, so having this type of program gives parents, kids, families an opportunity to play the sport."

Dave Wilson and his son Dylan participated in Challenger Baseball in Carberry in 2018. Dave says the experience was amazing for both of them.

"I found out about Challenger Baseball and signed my boy up, and somehow, I ended up coaching," Wilson noted with a laugh. "They wanted to get going in Carberry, so they had enough kids out there and from the surrounding area, so we'd head out to Carberry for a couple hours every Saturday morning. It didn't run that long, six or eight weeks throughout the summer, so that was the extent of my involvement. It was a fabulous experience."

Wilson notes that taking part in the event in Carberry left a significant impact on him.

"It's a fulfilling, amazing program. There were feel-good moments every week. And I'm not exaggerating to say most Saturdays, I drove home with tears in my eyes, just reflecting on that morning and some of the things that happened. You see pure joy in these kids, and that's what it's all about."

Challenger Baseball will run for the first time in Portage on June 23.