Lessons in life, on the baseball diamond
Sports can be an avenue to friendship and learning for young people, but not everyone has equal access to these opportunities.
A new free program, Girls at Bat, is offering the learning experience to Charlottetown area youth by exposing them to baseball. It’s a collaboration between the Women’s Network PEI, the Jays Care Foundation, Baseball PEI, and the Department of Health and Wellness.
“Our program is open to girls in grade five and six at Prince Street Elementary. The reason we focus on this age, is that we know that a lot of girls drop out of sports by junior high, “ says Megan Dorrell, Project Support Officer with Women’s Network PEI. “By working with this age group, we hope to instill a love of sport and the confidence and physical literacy to make healthy choices in the future. “
Girls at Bat recently received a wellness grant from Health and Wellness to support its effort to help Island girls develop physical, leadership and life skills; and make the social and emotional connections that come with being part of a team. Through baseball, the program aims for four main goals: connection, courage, leadership, and love of sport.
Dorrell said her goal is to reach girls who may not otherwise be involved in organized sports and who may lack other outlets for healthy physical activity. “Our target is girls that have barriers to playing team sports - whether it’s a lack of exposure, financial barriers, or other social, emotional or economic barriers. For most of our participants, this is the first time they have been part of a team,” she said.
“Along with physical literacy, our program focuses on new and healthy foods and we bring a healthy snack each week. We also focus on goal setting, problem solving, leadership skills, and social skills.”
The program gives the girls more than simply a few hours of healthy competition. Dorell says it can help them develop skills they can carry through their teens and into adulthood. The increased sense of belonging, self-esteem and confidence, and positive physical literacy equips the girls with the capacity to reach their full potential through physical activity, while improving their overall well-being.
The Wellness Grant Program provides funding up to $5,000 to support initiatives and projects guided by principles and strategies of health promotion in priority areas of the PEI Wellness Strategy, including:
- Physical Activity and Reduction in Sedentary Behaviour
- Living Tobacco Free
- Healthy Eating
- Consuming Alcohol Responsibly, and
- Mental Health Promotion
For information on wellness grants visit princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-and-wellness/what-wellness-grant-program Information on the Women's Network PEI and its programming is available at www.wnpei.org