Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
June 20, 2024
25° Mostly Cloudy

Making contact

Girls baseball program a hit at Athol-South Marysburgh
<p>Alison Kelly provides instruction while Jamie Roloson gets ready to field a ground ball at Athol South Marysburgh school. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
Alison Kelly provides instruction while Jamie Roloson gets ready to field a ground ball at Athol South Marysburgh school. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

There are Jr. Jays in flight at Athol South Marysburgh Public School.

But upwards of 40 girls are asking for help in order to realize their diamond dreams.

The school has signed up to take part in an introductory level baseball program offered through the Toronto Blue Jays and their Jays Care Foundation.

Girls At Bat is aimed at reducing barriers young people might face when accessing or participating in sport. Some barriers facing young women today include sport being too competitive, having a perceived lack of skill, limited access to opportunity, and low confidence.

Emma Weirsma shows nice form.(Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Organizer Alison Kelly explained the program helps create spaces that empower and centre the leadership and voices of girls and provide opportunities for them to learn and play sport in an inclusive setting.

Girls at Bat focuses on four key pillars: connection, courage, leadership, and love of sport. Offered to schools and community organizations across Canada, key goals of the program include increasing participation and retention in sport and play and developing athletic and social skills.

Last week during the Gazette’s visit to the school, would-be baseballers were participating in warm up games, taking part in ground ball drills and running the bases. The girls work out twice a week in the afternoon and the smiles and laughs on the faces of the participants provided more than enough evidence the program is a thundering hit.

Athol South Marysburgh student Aubrey Kelly remarked the school is lucky to have such a program that introduces baseball to participants who might have never swung a bat or caught a pop fly.

Faith Smith fields a grounder cleanly. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

“The Jr. Jays program gives us girls a chance to play baseball without judgment from others,” she said.

While Jays Care sends along an equipment bag with starter gloves and some bats for indoor usage, school leaders are appealing to those in the Prince Edward County community who might have a well loved baseball glove, a bat or even some catcher’s equipment lying around. There are more participants than there are ball gloves.

“With the nicer weather approaching, we really want to take the students outside and make use of our ball diamond and play games,” said Principal Heather McMaster.

Those with gently used baseball equipment for children from Grade 4-8 can drop items off at Athol-South Marysburgh in Cherry Valley during regular school hours.

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 17 edition of The Picton Gazette
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