Students of all ages and abilities should be given the opportunity to participate in sports. Unfortunately, many student athletes with special needs feel like they are merely benchwarmers, waiting for a coach to put them in the game.
RallyCap Sports has changed that.
The national organization was founded in 2014, with the goal of serving the special needs community. Local chapters at universities recruit volunteers who organize recreational sports camps for children and young adults. There are now 19 chapters across eight states, serving hundreds of participants and their families.
A new chapter
Taylor Seid, a student in sports management at University of Michigan, is the president of the local chapter, which was formed in the fall of 2022.
“The Ann Arbor chapter of RallyCap Sports was formed with fourteen students in leadership and committee positions including a president, operations team, marketing team, volunteer relations team and participant relations team. These fourteen students are passionate about providing sports opportunities for children and young adults with special needs in the Ann Arbor area,” Seid said.
Seid has a long history of volunteering with the special needs community.
“It has grown to be a passion and love of mine. When I heard about the opportunity to start up RallyCap Sports at Michigan, I was immediately interested and knew I wanted to get involved in any way that I could,” Seid said.
The organization offers sports leagues in fall, winter and spring semesters. A season typically lasts four to six weeks, and participants can choose from flag football, basketball, bowling, kickball and more.
Each Rally Player is paired with a Rally Pal for every session, where they will learn the rules and skills of the sport. Through weekly drills and games, the participants prepare for a scrimmage/game where they can put their new skills into action.
“Sports seasons are all about healthy lifestyle, social integration, building confidence and most importantly, fun!” Seid said.
Opportunities for all
Seid feels that RallyCap Sports is filling a need in the area by providing sports opportunities for all ages and abilities.
“Everyone should be able to participate in sports and benefit from them. Rally Cap Sports provides these sports opportunities for people who may not otherwise be able to have them, and that is why it is so needed in the community,” Seid said.
Seid sees participants benefitting from the program beyond the game.
“Sports are an essential aspect of growing up that provide children and young adults with so many valuable skills, friendships, happiness, and memories. Aside from the sport aspect, our organization strives to provide a community and safe environment for people of all abilities to have fun and flourish in a non-competitive, welcoming atmosphere,” Seid said.
“It has been both an amazing and rewarding experience being able to start up this chapter at the University of Michigan, gather a group of volunteers and participants, and actually hold successful sports seasons, and to see all of our hard work being paid off. I cannot wait to continue to make an impact on the Ann Arbor community, both during the rest of my time at the University of Michigan, and into the future for years to come.”
To follow the local chapter on social media, see photos, and learn more about upcoming events visit the RallyCap Sports website and social media at @rallycapsports_umich on instagram or facebook.com/rallycapsportsmichigan.