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Call for PSO Partner(s) to Participate in Project to Remove Barriers for Self-identified Girls in Sport

Removing Barriers to Keep Self-Identified Girls in Sports is a collaborative sport and leadership initiative between Fast and Female and Canadian Women & Sport, funded by Silver Gummy Foundation. This pilot is for girls, aged 8 to 14, and their coaches, sports program designers and/or administrators. This multi-week program is designed to be inclusive, and developmentally appropriate while building knowledge, competencies and attitudes to help keep girls safe in sport.

We are looking for Provincial Sport Organization partners in Ontario to join us in the second pilot delivery of this exciting new virtual program series. Read on for more details.

The Project

Fast and Female partnered with Canadian Women & Sport to create parallel programming to engage and retain more self-identified girls in safe, welcoming, and inclusive sport experiences.

Using an intersectional framework (gender +), Fast and Female and Canadian Women & Sport deliver concurrent training for girls and their sport leaders, creating change, one diverse Canadian community at a time.

The core training for the girls (delivered by Fast and Female) and for the leaders (delivered by Canadian Women & Sport) are offered concurrently in two distinct streams, with the girls and the leaders each receiving training and messages tailored to their role. The girls and their sport leaders connect at the start and end of the training series to create linkages and shared learning and experiences. This Project aims to have greater impact for both the participants and the sport leaders than either organization could achieve independently. 

After the first pilot, over 90% of girl participants said they felt more confident, brave and strong while the number of leaders who said they feel comfortable using an intersectional lens as a tool to design and deliver programs for girls double

Rationale

Girls are underrepresented in the Canadian sport system, as participants and as leaders, due to pervasive systemic barriers that limit their engagement: this includes body shaming and sexual harassment, which are large factors that drive girls out of sport (Kerr, Willson, & Stirling, 2020). As many as 62% of girls are not participating in any kind of sport compared to 44% of boys and one in three girls drop out compared to one in seven boys (Canadian Women & Sport, 2020).

Sport teaches leadership and challenges gender norms. Participating in sport helps build resiliency, confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of belonging. Sport offers support networks and prevents isolation, and these benefits are sustained long after childhood and adolescence (Canadian Women & Sport, 2020).

For girls facing additional barriers related to other aspects of their social identities (such as race, religion, ethnicity, and others), the opportunity to engage in sport participation is even more important. For example, girls from lower income households report that cost, access, confidence, lack of feelings of belongingness and safety are barriers to their sport participation (Canadian Women & Sport, 2020).

The Project objectives are: 

  1. To educate girls about the value of sport and how to create a safe and inclusive sport environment free from violence (e.g. bullying, bystander empowerment, peer support). 
  2. To educate sport leaders, building their knowledge, motivation and competence for creating girl-centered sport experiences and environments that are safe, welcoming and inclusive meeting girls’ needs and interests. 
  3. To provide access to girl-centered sport experiences to retain girls in sport. 

Social connection is particularly important – now more than ever – with the impact of COVID-19. This program will provide an opportunity to continue to engage with girls in a meaningful way to help your community partner and participants recover and come back stronger.

What is required of a Provincial Sport Organization Partner?

We are looking to recruit Provincial Sport Organization partners to participate in our pilot, whereby community partner coaches/sport leaders and the girls in their program will receive parallel programming over the course of 6 weeks, including joint kick-off and closing sessions.

Interested community partners must fit the below criteria:

  • Be able to recruit 30-60 girls aged 8-14, for 5 virtual sessions
  • Be able to recruit 3-6 Leaders In Training aged 15-17, for 5 virtual sessions
  • Be able to recruit 10-20 Sport Leaders (ideally with a minimum of 2 years coaching experience) for 7 virtual sessions and ~6 hours of independent learning  
  • All participants must attend all sessions (more information below)
  • All participants must have access to the technology to participate virtually

What are the benefits to participating in the pilot?

Provincial Sport Organization partners will receive the following:

Girls:

  • Access to fun and engaging curriculum – developed by registered psychologist Tasha Belix, Fast and Female will deliver 3 empowering and educational workshops to the participants in a girls-only environment. Girls will learn more about the benefits of sport participation and transferable life skills.
  • Connection to REAL (Relatable, Empower, Active Leaders) Role Models – Fast and Female’s superpower is our amazing REAL Role Models, who are inspirational self-identified women from across Canada, that are passionate about sport and physical activity. Girls will have the opportunity to work with our REAL Role Models in a small group setting.
  • Swag & pilot materials package – curriculum resources and supports, alongside Fast and Female swag!

Sport leaders:

  • Build knowledge and competency – gain access to training and guidance to better understand the needs and motivations of girls to keep them involved in sport
  • Professional development – Access to free licenses of the Keeping Girls in Sport e-module provided to participating coaches and community partner leaders
  • Networking opportunities – share and learn with other leaders in your community
  • Swag & pilot materials package – hard copies of the program guide and participant workbooks, along with some Canadian Women & Sport swag to be provided
  • Certificate – upon successful completion of all modules, participants will receive a certificate.

Pilot Timeline

Community partner(s) must commit to the following timeline:

  • End of February 2022: participants complete program registration and pre-program survey
  • Mid-March to End of April 2022: deliver Removing Barriers and complete post-program surveys 

If your organization’s season aligns with this timeline and you would like the opportunity to participate in this unique and exciting experience for program leaders and girls, then submit your expression of interest HERE .

Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, February 16th, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET.

Should you have any questions regarding your submission to this pilot, please contact:

Vanessa Wallace, Program Coordinator at Canadian Women & Sportvanessa.wallace@womenandsport.ca

Gabriela Estrada, Program Director at Fast and Female, gestrada@fastandfemale.com  

About the organizations

The Silver Gummy Foundation is an Alberta-based organization whose mission is to use education as a means of reducing gender-based violence, primarily sexual and domestic violence.  Harmful notions of masculinity and femininity that can lead to negative behaviours are largely formulated in childhood. The Silver Gummy Foundation’s hope is to cultivate self-esteem, respect for all genders, and an understanding of how to maintain healthy relationships. They do this by funding innovative organizations that strive for achievement in this area and are willing to communicate and collaborate with other stakeholders.

Fast and Female and Canadian Women & Sport are two of the leading organizations in Canada that aspire to keep girls and women as active participants and leaders in sport through education. Fast and Female’s mission is to keep girls healthy and active in sport. Canadian  Women & Sport’s mission is to create an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women – as active participants and leaders – within and through sport. 

All three organizations strive to cultivate self-esteem, resiliency, confidence, and social belonging for girls and women, in environments that build and promote healthy relationships.