Last month, SWB programs in different cities throughout the world celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child, a day established by the United Nations in 2011 “to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.”
In Greeley, CO, SWB facilitated a number of activities to celebrate the day. The girls enjoyed a team movie night, went hiking, and ultimately played in a game on October 11. It was a perfect way to spend the day, as the girls worked together and played the game they love!
In the weeks leading up to the celebration at SWB Boston, the middle school girls participated in weekly discussion groups with their teammates and talked about what it means to be a girl and a female athlete. They discussed the concept of stereotypes and the different stereotypes that they might confront as girls.
On the day of the event, the girls played in a Dutch-style tournament, where each round had a different focus related to their earlier conversations. For example, in one round, every time the girls shot, they yelled out a stereotype about girls. The tournament was especially exciting because players from Brandeis Women’s Soccer came to play and Boston Breakers player, Katie Schoepfer, concluded the play with a visit and motivational talk. The celebration ended with food and a tie dye t-shirt making activity.
In Granada, Nicaragua, the girls at Fútbol Sin Fronteras celebrated being female athletes through a girls’ only run. Each team ran the race, adjusting distance for age group. In a community where SWB offers one of the only opportunities for girls to play organized sports, this was a powerful statement and a very fun activity for the girls!
For SWB, this was an important opportunity to appreciate the girls in our programs, and to celebrate their resilience and hard work on and off the field. Many of our girls are the first in their families to play soccer. They are breaking down barriers to sport for other girls in their communities, and it is an honor to work with such committed role models.