GHAJNSIELEM, Malta — The implementation of the Erasmus+ Sports: Small Collaborative Partnerships project, Inclusion & Gender Equality Through Softball, commenced on Thursday, March 9, with the arrival of eight club coaches representing Softball Klub Princ Zagreb (Croatia), Olympia Haarlem (Netherlands), and the Redcoats (hosts/Malta). They were joined by Tara Henry, a USA softball coach and former UCLA Bruins college softball player who was invited to contribute with her experience and knowledge of the game. In the first of three segments, the coaches from the three clubs explored ways to get children as young as four years old to participate in sports.
A series of activities were organised to exchange good practices in coaching softball, involving the youth teams of the Ghajnsielem Redcoats. In order to promote the game and increase the rate of participation of children, especially girls, in softball, one activity was held at the Gozo College Ghajnsielem Primary School. The effort was very effective given the feedback from the children themselves, their teachers and parents, as well as the Head of School. At the conclusion, a softball starter kit was donated to the school to further help the development of the game on the island.
A seminar for stakeholders and policymakers was also held to cover the topic of this first transnational meeting, A Multisport Approach to Softball. Participants came to appreciate the importance of multilateralism and the necessity of encouraging young participants to practice more than one sport for their long-term athletic development.
The objective to raise awareness with policymakers and stakeholders is an on-going process. Television programmes, which will air on Maltese national television over the coming days, as well as meetings with key government officials held in Gozo are expected to achieve the desired results.
The next portion of the transnational project to study the administrative side of running a softball club and explore ways to enhance the running of the organisations, including methods to generate funds is scheduled for May in Haarlem, Netherlands.
Complete project description is available here: IGETS Project Article.pdf