Dartmouth Kid Spotlight on Clara Parker: Canadian Girls Baseball League

Photo courtesy of Jessica Parker

Photo courtesy of Jessica Parker

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That all-star moment when you get your first home run? Yeah, that’s the moment that seven-year-old Clara Parker, from Dartmouth, excitedly shares as her favourite memory of playing on the first all-girls league in Nova Scotia last summer.

“I got the ball really, really, really far and it almost hit the fence!” she exclaims.

She has just finished the indoor winter session of the Canadian Girls Baseball league (formerly Nova Scotia Girls Baseball) and can’t wait to get back outside for the summer session when she can dig her cleats into the grass and enjoy the fresh open air while they play.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Parker

Photo courtesy of Jessica Parker

Clara was on a co-ed baseball team before the Canadian Girls Baseball League came to the city. Her mom, Jessica, noticed that she was often the only girl on her team and she was not bonding strongly with the boys. When Jessica started to notice subtle signs that her daughter was being treated differently, she felt like it was time for a change.

“I was once a young girl that played sports and when I played with boys I really resented being treated differently or being put into certain positions because I was a girl,” Jessica explains. “I know that many girls give up on sports because of these experiences and I want my own kids to have the choice to take part in whatever activities they like and for them to feel confident and respected in those activities.”

When she heard about the Canadian Girls Baseball League she signed Clara up and they have both loved the experience.

Clara at bat ((photo courtesy of Canadian Girls Baseball)

Clara at bat ((photo courtesy of Canadian Girls Baseball)

Clara has been particularly enjoying that she gets to spend lots of time practicing her batting skills (no wonder, with her first home run already logged!) and learning new techniques for holding the bat and throwing the ball. Clara says she loves that her teammates all get to take turns working on each skill so that no one is left out.

“We’re learning about how to keep our eye on the ball without blinking,” Clara says. “We practice getting our hands in the right places on the bat and our feet in the right spots when we’re batting and we practice throwing.”

Teammates (photo courtesy of Canadian Girls Baseball)

Teammates (photo courtesy of Canadian Girls Baseball)

Clara loves the camaraderie of the Canadian Girls Baseball League, including the big cheer at the end of each practice, and the support of her winter session mentors, including Coach Jodi and Coach Hannah.

Jessica says seeing her daughter flourish in this environment has been wonderful.

Last summer’s team photo with Coach Alex (photo courtesy of Canadian Girls Baseball)

Last summer’s team photo with Coach Alex (photo courtesy of Canadian Girls Baseball)

“The coaches were responsive to the needs of the girls and were flexible according to those needs,” she says. “They had enough help there that I could simply enjoy watching and not feel compelled to help out, but I was also welcome to if it seemed like my daughter or her friend could use my support for a short time.”

They’re already registered for the summer program and are looking forward to another year of being surrounded by supportive women and role models for Clara.

“I don’t want either of my children to feel like they are limited in the things that they find joy in,” Jessica says. “I want my daughter to feel like she can achieve whatever level she wants in the activities that she is interested in.“

Photo courtesy of Jessica Parker

Photo courtesy of Jessica Parker

REGISTRATION

Registration for Canadian Girls Baseball (CGB) is now open and they are offering four locations in the Maritimes this year. Two are in Nova Scotia again with one in Dartmouth and one in Bedford/Sackville, and two are in PEI with one location in Charlottetown and one in Summerside (exact fields to be announced closer to the season).

All locations offer sessions Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:15: follow this link for Saturday registration information. They are also offering one weeknight option in Dartmouth on Wednesdays from 6:15-8: follow this link for registration information.

The fee in Nova Scotia is $165 and includes CGB jersey, pants, hat, hoodie, coaching, necklace, and closing day ceremony with baseball card and medal! Your daughter only needs to bring sneakers, baseball, water bottle, and a glove (bats will be available for use on the field) and be ready to have fun! The fee for PEI’s introductory year is $135 and includes all of the same supplies plus the starter kit of bag, bat, water bottle, and baseball.

Use the early bird code PLAYBALL in the Maritimes for a 10% discount for each child registered until March 31, 2019.

The Canadian Girls Baseball League is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating strong programming and being as accessible as possible to every girl who wants to play. They partner with the Jays Care Foundation and Baseball Canada.