Being a (feisty) mama of two (feisty-in-training) daughters, issues involving girls in Canada are of course front of mind. I know how fortunate we are to live in this beautiful and prosperous country, and I teach my girls to be fierce, strong, and have a voice because I know how girls in other parts of the world are robbed of that and so much more.
Still, girls in Canada admit they don’t feel entirely equal to boys when it comes to sports and activities. In 2017, this is simply ridiculous don’t you think? Nearly three-quarters (72 %) of Canadian girls say they are unable to participate to their full potential in high school athletics, and one-third (34 %) say that boys are offered better athletic opportunities (what??!). Among the reasons girls cited for inequality in high school sports are: less support from school administration, non-existent girls’ teams, less team funding, lower-quality coaching, equipment and facilities, and old uniforms.
Playtex® Sport® created the first PlayON Canada Grant Program to help address the inequality between girls’ and boys’ athletic teams in high school, and I am so happy to be an ambassador for it.
My daughters are 6 and 9 and doing a lot of what we call on the Saskatchewan inMotion Mom2Mom Podcast that I host: Sport Sampling. That is, they have tried a variety of sports, usually for only one season or more, until they find something else they want to try and experience. I have no problem with this approach – they both get a variety of experiences and coaching techniques, meet new friends, and don’t take themselves to seriously. Thinking back, between both my girls we have tried Red Cross Swimming, Synchronyzed Swimming, Gymnastics, Track, Soccer, Cheerleading, Trampline & Tumbling, and Parkor. Swimming lessons are the only must-do in our family, but beyond that we’re a try-anything household!
By the time my girls reach high school I think they will have a well-rounded resume of athletic experience and maybe they’ll have a favorite to excel at on high school teams.
“The Playtex® PlayON™ Canada Grant Program is about celebrating Canadian girls who play high school sports and giving their teams the resources they need to play to their full potential,” says Jill MacKinnon, Brand Manager, Edgewell Personal Care. “After reviewing more than 215 deserving grant submissions from high schools across Canada, it’s clear that there is a real need for increased funding for girls’ high school sports teams, and we are proud that the Playtex® PlayON™ Grant Program can help address this issue head on.”
The grant requests submitted by students and coaches spanned the need for uniforms and equipment to team travel costs and facility rentals, from a range of high school sports, including field hockey, curling, weightlifting, and volleyball. The girls’ wrestling team at Toronto’s West Humber Collegiate Institute had their grant moment captured on video when they were surprised with new singlets and boots by Canadian and Olympic champion wrestler Erica Wiebe, who herself began wrestling in high school in Grade 9.
“My first introduction to wrestling was in Grade 8 gym class. I thought it was really fun and was devastated to learn our Grade 7/8 wrestling team was only for boys. I resolved that in Grade 9 by joining the co-ed team,” says Wiebe. “One of my mentors recently told me, ‘challenges invite us to take giant steps long before we might become giants. With each obstacle, you must find a way to pursue your passion and be your best self.’ I believe in that message and I believe that girl athletes in high school should cultivate a squad of empowered, positive individuals to help them reach their dreams.”
The Playtex® PlayON™ Canada Grant Program gave a total of $50,000 in grants with each team receiving as much as $5000! If you think your children’s school could benefit from this too, submissions for next year start this summer.
Here’s where you come in!
The grant-reveal video can be viewed at playtexplayon.ca/grant-program-recipients. Each time the video is shared before July 15, 2017, Playtex Sport will add $1 to the Playtex PlayON Canada Grant Fund – up to a maximum of $25,000. The Playtex® PlayON™ Canada Grant Program is open to all high school girls’ sports teams in Canada in need of funding. The call for submissions for the second Playtex® PlayONTM Grant Program will begin in summer 2017.