Challenger Program celebrates another successful season

By: Amy Filippone, Dept. of Parks & Recreation

The Challenger Baseball season ended with a wrap up party and a surprise visit by Moorestown’s Mayor Lisa Petriello. Petriello presented a proclamation to Ken Catanella, who not only started and funds the program but is the pitcher for all the games. 

The proclamation reads, “Whereas the Challenger Baseball program was initiated and funded by Ken Catanella in the Fall of 2018 to establish an adaptive baseball program for individuals with disabilities […]Therefore, the Township of Moorestown hereby honors and extends its deepest gratitude to Ken Catanella and the Challenger Baseball coaches and volunteers.”

“It really should include the Rec. Department,” Catanella said. “I have to re-emphasize this. I had the idea. I did the funding that was the easy part. The other part was Theresa (Miller) and Moorestown Rec. Again, without them, it just doesn’t happen, and they did it gleefully. They did it with the spirit of really being excited to help the kids. The wrap up party was fabulous. I got thank you notes, signature baseballs and most important — hugs.”

The season was a great success with no rain. Many thanks to the little league coaches and parents who volunteered and the little league players who were buddies, helping with base running and fielding. They’ll all be back next year.

The special needs annual “Let’s Dance” party for high school students and young adults was also a big success with more than 30 kids and adults dancing the night away on Nov. 22. The Church Street Recreation Center was transformed into a club with a DJ, some disco lighting and pub tables. 

Margie Bard, job developer for the special needs program at Moorestown High School, started the partnership with the Recreation Department since she’d had extensive experience planning high school proms. 

“What I typically do is send out the flyer to surrounding areas, and we had a really good response this year,” Bard said. “The kids dress up and just dance. It was really fun. The Rec. provides enough programs so people in the surrounding special needs community recognize Moorestown Rec as being a good place for special needs activities and that reputation makes people more comfortable coming to you.”

All special needs parties are free and the holiday party is coming soon on Dec. 8 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Just register online at www.moorestownrec.com. There will be a DJ, Santa and pizza. Please bring a small wrapped, labeled gift for Santa to give to your child (approximately $5). Pizza donated by LaVita’s Pizzeria and Carollo’s Little Italy and DJ donated by Posternock Apell PC.