The 2019 school year is off to a great start!
Over the past few weeks, Danielle and I have met with school administrators, presented the program to students and parents, and led our first classes with our new batch of Chicas Dinámicas!
One of the best parts of the start-of-the-year bustle was having the opportunity to pitch the program to parents. They asked us a wide range of questions about our class, and overall we received a high level of enthusiasm!
One question that we found ourselves fielding over and over again, though, was this:
¿Por qué no hay Chicos Dinámicos?
Why isn’t there a Chicos Dinámicos, an equivalent sports program for boys? It was a question that made us pause and reflect on the principles of GirlSportWorks. Why do we do what we do in the way that we do it?
Many people around the world do not believe that girls can or should play sports. Some argue that girls are not predisposed towards athletics and that boys are, therefore it is not important for girls to play. It is a central tenet of the GirlSportWorks philosophy that playing sports is critical to the physical and socio-emotional health of girls as well as essential to learning life skills including self-confidence, leadership, communication, teamwork, and more.
Although our school partners are situated in under-resourced communities where opportunities to participate in organized sports are scarce for boys and girls alike, one need only observe a few minutes of activity on the playground to understand why Chicas Dinámicas is not Chicos Dinámicos. The boys control the court from what games they play, to who’s on what team, and who gets passed the ball. The girls who are brave enough to play with the boys are often not fully included, while most are too intimidated to jump into the fray. Even if they are not participating in an organized sports team, the boys’ chances to play greatly exceed those of the girls.
The structure of Chicas Dinámicas as an all-girls class creates a space in which girls can feel comfortable and confident playing sports. All of our students are equal in their play. Everyone is included, everyone gets passed the ball, and everyone has the same opportunities to learn and grow. An important part of our mission is to foster the core values of leadership, communication, teamwork, healthy living, and self-esteem in our students. We want our girls to be confident enough in their personal strength to confront any boys and hop into any game of pick-up soccer. We hope GirlSportWorks participants carry these life skills beyond sports into the daily lives at school, at home, and into their adult lives.
It was great to discuss with parents the value of all-female spaces and the purposeful design of Chicas Dinámicas as an empowering all-girls environment. We hope to continue an open dialogue with parents, students, and administrators about our mission and methods as we motivate a new group of Chicas Dinámicas!