Thanks to Nova Scotia Girls Baseball who sponsored this post. We only partner with businesses that we believe bring value and enjoyment to Halifax families. If you'd like to talk about working together, please contact us. As always, all opinions are our own. *Photos in this post provided by Mighty Girls Sports.
When Dana Bookman’s six year old daughter signed up to play on the local baseball league in their home city of Toronto, they quickly realized she was the only girl playing, “400 kids in her age group, and she was the only girl.” Everyone showered her with praise telling her she was their hero and that she was really brave; but when the season came to an end, her daughter wanted to quit despite still loving baseball and Dana was left asking, “Why should she have to be brave? . . . And how many other girls would just say forget it?”
And so Dana took it into her own hands to create a team for girls. A team that had strong female baseball role models leading it, had jerseys designed to fit girls’ bodies, and even a necklace with the inspiring phrase “She believed she could so she did” on one side, and the logo on the other. The league started with the hope that five girls would come out to play baseball in the park. Over forty came out that first day and within a year saw 350 girls on the roster who were eager to play.
Dana is now the Founder and Executive Director of Mighty Girls Sports and Toronto Girls Baseball and was named one of the most influential people in Canadian Baseball by the Canadian Baseball Network in 2017. This summer she is bringing her wildly popular Girls Baseball League to the Halifax region, at the request of Baseball Nova Scotia.
This is the only all girls baseball league for kids of this age in Canada. It has all female coaches and staff, however they encourage both moms and dads to step up to the plate as volunteer coaches.
“We make it really great for the girls. It’s all about girl empowerment,” she says.
Because many of the girls have not played at all they design the program so that girls can come in at any age, and any skill level, and fit right in. They start each practice with drills going over the basics and then they play a game every week. Dana explains that the game is not done by traditional innings but designed so that every girl gets a chance to bat and try out all the positions.
“We are really good at integrating the girls who have no experience with the girls who have some experience with the girls who have lots of experience. We make sure everybody’s comfortable; it’s the way the program’s built. Everybody gets a turn, everybody gets to learn. We make it really fun. We use things like rubber chickens and slip and slide, and tools like bouncy balls that they can bounce off their heads to learn how to catch fly balls . . . But it's real baseball skills. They learn real skills, despite the chickens," she laughs.
Dana talks about the emotion of the first day of the season when all of the different teams meet on one field and the girls look around and realize they’re part of something special, something bigger, and that they’re no longer the “only girl” who likes baseball.
"You can see girls’ confidence grow from being part of a team; there’s so much they get from team sports that is different from individual sports,” she says. “You have to learn to win, you have to learn to lose. You have to learn cooperation and teamwork, all the things that carry you through your life to become a leader."
The program is for girls ages 4-12 and is held at the same location each week.
There are two locations: the Robert Lenihan Memorial field (at 1800 Bedford Highway, by the Bedford/Sackville exit off the 102 highway) and the ball field at the Cole Harbour Place in Cole Harbour.
The program is on Saturday mornings for 90-120 minutes (depending on the age group).
The registration fee includes a:
full uniform (hat, jersey, pants)
Girls are responsible for providing their own baseball glove and running sneakers.
The cost is $135 for eight weeks over the summer (including all the gear which the girls keep) and is priced this low because Dana is firm that every girl should have the chance to play and promises she won’t turn away any girl, regardless of their circumstances. There are subsidies that are available and she is committed to helping parents find ways to remove the barriers that might face their daughters.
DISCOUNT CODE! If you register before February 28 and use the code BASEBALL you'll receive 10% off your registration right now.
WIN A FREE REGISTRATION
Dana has generously offered to give away a free registration to one lucky girl who wants to play baseball this summer! To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form below and ***IMPORTANT*** make sure you come back to the Rafflecopter widget and check off each task you complete in order for it to be counted as an entry.
When the contest closes, one random winner will be drawn. S/he will be notified by email and have 24 hours to respond; if there's no reply by then, we will draw for a new winner. Good luck!
*Winners must be age of majority in their home province and be residents of Canada; excluding Quebec; and the girl for whom the registration will be gifted to must be able to attend the program in the Halifax region this summer (2018).