Challenger Athletics Inc. was founded in April 2013 by Raymond Samson, Stephen and Thomas DeSimone. Raymond wanted to give his youngest son Patrick, who has Down syndrome, the opportunity to play a sport he loves and has been involved with since his time at West Islip High School. Stephen, a junior at St. Anthony’s High School and Thomas, a sophomore at Chaminade High School have known Ray’s son since he was an infant. They have always held a special place in their hearts for Patrick and children with special needs. They wanted to become more involved with the special needs community after their nephew was born with a rare developmental disorder. Challenger Athletics was the perfect opportunity for Ray, Stephen, and Thomas to work with this amazing group of people and share with them their love for lacrosse.
Initially, they set out to get an indication from the community to see if there was truly an interest for a special needs lacrosse program. To do this, Ray drafted a letter stating their intent and sent it to Bay Shore PAL as well as other Suffolk PAL programs. The response was a resounding “yes.” In fact, a copy of the letter was posted on Facebook and people from all over Long Island signed up to participate.
On June 18, 2013, with some help from friends, Ray, Stephen and Thomas founded Challenger Athletics Inc., a 501(c)(3) New York Not-for-Profit organization dedicated to fostering the growth of children through sports. Challenger Lacrosse held its first practice on June 29, 2013. The turnout was overwhelming, 50 athletes and 75 buddies were in attendance but what was more impressive was the FUN everyone had that day. The rest of the season was equally well attended over the next five weeks.
It is their mission to continue this success as well as build self-sustaining sports program for all to enjoy and benefit from. Currently, we have three active programs lacrosse, tennis and a sports camp at St. Anthony’s high school. Challenger Athletics Inc. is a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation duly organized under Section 402 of the New York Not For Profit Corporation Law. Additional information about our organization can be found on file with the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Charities Bureau at http://www.charitiesnys.com/home.jsp
We appreciate your support, and look forward to seeing you on the field!