Stepping up to the Plate with Girls at Bat

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Reading Time: 3 minutes

We believe that when girls have opportunities to lead, they can change the world – in the classroom, the boardroom and on the baseball diamond! Plan International Canada is excited to partner with the Jays Care Foundation to support the Girls at Bat program. The James Bay Girls at Bat Program provides Indigenous female youth, called Youth Champions, from Mushkegowuk Territory, with strong and reliable role models to mentor them as they plan and lead programming for other young people in their community.

The program is designed with the understanding that the strongest programs offered for youth around the world are designed and lead by youth themselves. This program works with Youth Champions who want to strengthen their leadership skills and who are willing to try to lead programming and events for their peers.

Girls at Bat Retreat

Group photo

To kick off this new program, 58 Youth Champions (aged 11 to 23), 17 Local Mentors and chaperones from 9 communities in Northern Ontario, gathered in Timmins for the Girls At Bat Retreat. The Girls at Bat Retreat was a week-long training designed for the youth to build skills and friendships, to set them up for success as they lead programs for other youth in their home communities. It was an incredibly inspiring week, and Plan International Canada was proud to support this moving event.

Here is what the youth participants and adult facilitators had to say about how the Retreat impacted them:

Girl with painted hand

“The retreat taught me that I am funny, outgoing and AWESOME!”

“Even when I was feeling so down and broken, I felt this powerful feeling of healing among the women.”

“The thing I will remember most about the retreat is how much the mentors cared.”

“You guys did such an inspiring job. You made the week outrageous and exciting for everybody. I was so scared to be an MC- I am actually so scared I can’t order pizza on the phone. And the encouragement you gave me helped me make a whole new person… I can’t wait to go back to my community and introduce new activities to the youth. I can’t wait to come back!”Girls pointing at shirt

“[At the retreat I learned] …You’re beautiful inside and out, usually when someone picks on someone they are probably inflicting their pain on someone-else, because they don’t know how to deal with it, anyways keep your head up and remember you have a lot of friends that are there for you and that you can talk to including me.”

“Being involved with girls at bat has been extraordinary from the start and I am so grateful to be a part of it. Our youth champions are incredibly inspiring and I feel like I am constantly learning from them – simply put, they make me want to be a better person, to have courage to do the things that sometimes scare me and to stand up with a strong powerful voice. I miss everyone a great deal and can’t wait to get up to [Kashechewan First Nation]!” – Tracy, National Mentor

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