OSS Pilot Program: Include Everyone & Keep it Fun

 In News, Parents, Players

In late 2019, the Ottawa Shooting Stars Basketball Club was thrilled to receive a $1500 grant from the True Sport Foundation and Ottawa Sport Council Foundation.

The funds allowed OSS to launch, in mid-November, a new Leadership in Basketball and Life Program for Girls. The pilot program, running from Roberta Bondar Public School, is designed to stimulate interest in basketball among young girls, who may not have had a chance to take part in the sport.

OSS also received encouragement to launch the program, and technical guidance, from the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS). The CAAWS “Same Game” model is intended to support gender equality in sport and starting up the new program for young girls is a way to learn about and to test the model.

Targeting girls in south Ottawa in grades 3 to 5, and with the strong support of teachers at Roberta Bondar and Robert Bateman Public schools, the program grew quickly. Registration jumped from 4 players at week one’s “information session” to filling up at 25 girls (the max) when registration finalized in late November.

OSS is thrilled with the wonderful start to this new initiative and the players are very enthusiastic, bringing smiles of joy and excitement as they learn basketball and much, much more. An overarching goal of the program and season is use to use the sport of basketball to teach leadership concepts and values. On a weekly basis, we celebrate individual “True Sport Values” as a practice theme, such as the spirit of inclusion. The first week’s theme was aptly titled “Include Everyone” and that was part of the club’s goal in running the program.

The Leadership in Basketball and Life Program for Girls continues until early March and a goal of the pilot is to make it a sustainable, yearly offering that will encourage more girls from a range of Ottawa communities to discover that basketball is not only fun to play, but also way to learn valuable life skills and leadership behaviours.