Jays Care Foundation uses baseball to teach life skills and create lasting social change for youth in historically under-resourced communities across Canada. The organization works in all ten provinces and two territories, impacting over 65,000 children and youth annually. The Foundation works with several groups that face pronounced opportunity gaps: children living at or below the poverty line; children living with physical and/or cognitive disabilities; Indigenous children and youth; and, girls without access to sport. Jays Care also invests in the creation and refurbishment of baseball diamonds, providing youth with safe spaces to play and learn.
INTRODUCTION TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Over the past three years, most baseball and softball associations have adopted new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies in response to growing awareness across the country regarding inequity and racism. While these policies are designed to help make associations more inclusive, the training and tools required to turn this into practice are hard to find. The Toronto Blue Jays and Jays Care Foundation teamed up to design and deliver Top of the First - a FREE workshop series for coaches, officials, league administrators and adult volunteers.
Top of the First offers a combination of training, tools, and professional development credits. This program equips participants with clear action plans, tools, and enhanced skills for creating more equitable, inclusive, and accessible programming. NCCP registered coaches receive three PD Points upon receiving official certification.
How it works:
Sign up using the links below and gain access to a series of FREE practical virtual workshops. Join participants from across the country to learn and connect around ways to make your programming more accessible and inclusive to communities historically underrepresented in baseball.
Virtual workshops are divided into 1.5-hour sessions conducted live by Jays Care Foundation and Blue Jays Baseball Academy staff. You have the option of interacting and participating live with audio and video. While this is not required, active participation is highly encouraged.
Upon completion of the workshops, participants will be provided access to an online toolkit and certification portal. The toolkit includes resources and templates that can be adapted for use by you and your association or league. A certificate from the Toronto Blue Jays is provided upon completion of a short on-line learning assessment. Upon receiving official certification, NCCP registered coaches receive three PD Points.
Top of the First is offered through two different streams.
- Stream 1: is designed for coaches, officials and adult volunteers
- Stream 2: is specifically designed for league administrators and organizers
Please note that we have a capacity limit for each session. If we reach capacity, we may reach out to suggest an alternate date.
STREAM 1: COACHES, OFFICIALS AND ADULT VOLUNTEERS
Coaches, officials, adult volunteers or parents of youth baseball and softball players are encouraged to register for the two, 1.5 hour workshops below. The Toronto Blue Jays and Jays Care Foundation are pleased to provide this introductory course free of charge.
Workshops are being offered in cohorts, where participants register for both workshops together. By selecting your desired cohort below, you are signing up for workshop 1 and workshop 2. Participants receive full certification upon completion of both workshops and their corresponding short on-line learning assessments. NCCP registered coaches receive three PD Points upon receiving official certification.
STREAM 2: LEAGUE ADMINISTRATORS AND ORGANIZERS
Those in a governance role within a baseball or softball association, including but not limited to: executive staff, league staff, volunteers, registrars and board members are encouraged to register for the three 1.5 hour sessions below. The Toronto Blue Jays and Jays Care Foundation are pleased to provide this introductory course free of charge.
Workshops are being offered in cohorts, where participants register for the first two workshops together, followed by a corresponding third workshop. By selecting your desired cohort below, you are signing up for workshop 1 and workshop 2. Information on registering for the third corresponding workshop will be provided upon completion of the first two workshops. Participants receive full certification upon completion of all three workshops and their corresponding short on-line learning assessments.
Did you know? Annually, there are approximately 160,000 children aged 5 to 18 registered for Baseball Canada and Little League Canada programs across the country. Of that group, approximately 10% identify as girls, 6% as racial minorities, 5% as children/youth with disabilities and 3% as receiving financial assistance to pay registration fees. In an effort to address the significant lack of diversity across baseball and softball leagues and associations in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays and Jays Care Foundation teamed up to design and deliver Top of the First - a FREE workshop series for coaches, officials, administrators and adult volunteers.
WORKSHOP ONE: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
- Reflect on the ways our conscious and unconscious mind influences our behaviours
- To identify at least one personal bias that we can start noticing and interrupting
- Learn a series of easy-to-use strategies and tactics for creating more inclusive programs
WORKSHOP TWO: INTERUPPTING EXCLUSION
- Increased understanding of what needs to be interrupted
- A better sense of why interrupting can be so hard – and why it’s so important for us to do
- Basic tools to be able to step forward and interrupt in moments of marginalization
WORKSHOP THREE: DIVERSIFYING RECRUITMENT
- Increased motivation to create more inclusive leagues that represent the diversity in our communities as much as possible
- An increased understanding of your role in creating inclusive leagues (from administrators, to officials, to coaches to families)
- A series of easy-to-use strategies and tactics for creating more inclusive recruitment processes
This certification is a joint project by the Toronto Blue Jays, Jays Care Foundation, Anima Leadership and Dr. Janelle Joseph. The design process included input and feedback from many program leaders including Baseball Canada; Little League Canada and Softball Canada. We are grateful for the time and energy that our partners working in diverse communities have provided to this program.
Anima Leadership is an award-winning company offering in-person and online inclusive consulting and training services for individuals, teams and organizations in support of transformative change. Their belief is that when people are in environments where they matter and belong, the extraordinary becomes possible
Dr. Janelle Joseph is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto and Founder/Director of the Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity, and Anti-racism in Sport (IDEAS) Research Lab. Dr Joseph’s research includes three books related to race and sport.
The Blue Jays Baseball Academy are committed to supporting the development of young people's lifelong connection with baseball across Canada.
For any questions about the certification program please contact the Blue Jays Baseball Academy at [email protected].