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Challenger Division (Cheerleading)

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The mission of the Pop Warner Challenger Division is to bring the Pop Warner experience to those special needs individuals.

Pop Warner’s overall goals are to enable young people to benefit from participation in team sports and activities in a safe and structured environment and by establishing a Challenger Division Pop Warner is providing an opportunity for everyone to participate on the sidelines cheering on the local football team or performing as a team before a Pop Warner audience.

Pop Warner objectives are to inspire our youth, regardless of race, creed, religion or national origin to practice the ideals of sportsmanship, scholarship and physical fitness as reflected in the life of the late Glenn Scobie “Pop” Warner. Pop Warner Strives to make the game fun for all boys and girls.

The program stresses learning lessons of value far beyond the playing or spirit days of those involved, such as; self-discipline, teamwork, concentration, friendship, leadership, and sportsmanship.

The philosophy of the Pop Warner Challenger Division is to provide the framework for local Pop Warner programs to offer a structured football, cheer and dance programs for participants with special needs. The Challenger program is non-competitive and no score or score sheet is kept. The games are modeled after a typical Pop Warner game with warm-ups, coin toss and national anthem etc. A Challenger Cheer or Dance team may also perform an exhibition performance in the Pop Warner Championships.  Participation in the Challenger Division is permitted at the request of the individual’s parent or guardian.

The Pop Warner Challenger Division was pioneered and established in 2004 in East Greenbush in the Capital District PopWarner League.

The modified rules of the Pop Warner Challenger Division:

  • Challenger Division follows Pop Warner Cheer & Dance Rules with modifications as noted in Rules.
  • All children ages 5-16 who are currently enrolled in school with physical or mental disabilities.
  • Level of play based on age and skill level are recommended where numbers allow.
  • Teams must roster in YCADA PW 1 or YCADA PW 2 skill divisions following proper progression under direct supervision.
  • No score is kept.
  • Teams are permitted one (1) game per week.
  • National registration fees are $10.
  • Pop Warner recommends team helpers must be a minimum of 13 years of age to assist participants.
  • Team Jerseys and flags provided for every participant.
  • Insurance for the Challenger Teams is the same as Pop Warner Flag Football teams.
  • One Coach permitted on the field at all times.  Football Teams play two 25 minute half’s with a running clock.
  • YCADA Routine Guidelines recommend Challenger Exhibition Performances timing to one minute and thirty seconds.  Teams may include cheer and music.

Challenger Division Structure:

  • Challenger Divisions may be formed in current existing Pop Warner Leagues.
  • Challenger Leagues may be Chartered if no current Pop Warner League exists.
  • Challenger Leagues must field complete standard Charter Application and submit required forms, boundaries, by-laws & articles of incorporation.