Welland Girls Sports Day set for Oct. 15
A few years ago when the City of Welland was formalizing plans for the Welland Empire Sportsplex, Niagara College athletic director Michele O’Keefe had an immediate thought pop into her head.
“Boys will be there from dawn to dusk and they will be excited to be out there. I thought, ‘Hey. What about the girls?’ We need to make sure the girls are comfortable being out there too.”
With that in mind, she asked the city if she could have the facility for a day where girls ages six to 12 would be invited to come out and learn to play a bunch of different sports.
“They were absolutely fine with that and our idea is to make sure young girls in Welland feel comfortable going to play sports whether it’s at the sportsplex, on their own or at the schools, and they know enough to feel comfortable going out to play.”
O’Keefe talked to a friend at Canadian Tire Jumpstart and he loved the idea and Jumpstart became a supporter of Welland Girls Sports Day, which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Welland Empire Sportsplex at 16 Townline Tunnel Rd.
“They have given us all kinds of sports equipment like soccer balls, basketballs, softballs, volleyballs, bats and golf clubs and they have been extremely generous. They have also given us some money.”
Other sponsors like the Medavie Health Foundation came on board with some funding to help support the day.
“We are very fortunate that we have some great partnerships wanting to support this initiative.”
The day begins with registration is from 9:30 to 10 a.m. followed by a warmup and stretching led by Niagara College students.
Niagara College varsity coaches and athletes as well as people from the community will be on hand to teach the technical aspects of the sports as the girls try various sports from 10:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Adaptive sports will be available and Brock Niagara Penguins coach Loretta Davis and some of her athletes will be on hand to help out. Erin Wilkie, a faculty member in Niagara’s Recreation and Leisure and Recreation Therapy programs, has been a big help in organizing that part of the day.
Niagara College’s student council is assisting in providing lunch for all the girls at 12:30 p.m. After lunch, participants will have free time to return to whatever sport they want
“At the end of the day, the girls will get to take home whatever sporting equipment they choose,” O’Keefe said. “That will take out the one little barrier of not having equipment.”
Also planned for the day are Niagara College hairstyling students showing the girls how to do their hair while playing sports.
“We are trying to do little things like that to make it fun and engage the Niagara College student body,” O’Keefe said.
She estimates upwards of 50 volunteers will be on hand to make the day a success.
To register, visit the City of Welland website or scan the QR code from the poster at the top of this story.