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 59,000 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:
Select a cohort from the dates below and register via the “Register Now” button. From there, you’ll 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.
Upon completion of the workshops and short learning assessments, you will be provided access to:
- An online toolkit. The toolkit includes resources and templates that can be adapted for your association or league.
- A certificate from the Toronto Blue Jays
- 3 NCCP Points (for NCCP registered coaches).
What workshops are offered in this series?
Top of the First is offered as a 3-part series. Everyone is highly encouraged to complete all three workshops.
- Workshop #1: Relationship Building – 1.5 hours
- Workshop #2: Interrupting Exclusion – 1.5 hours
- Workshop #3: Diversifying Recruitment – 1.5 hours
Each cohort completes workshops #1 and #2 together. Various cohorts will merge for the last session, diversifying recruitment.
Who are these workshops designed for?
Top of the First is designed for coaches, umpires, volunteers and administrators. If you are actively involved with your local youth league or association then this training is for you! There are important concepts and practical tools imbedded into all sessions that anyone can use day-to-day.
Am I required to participate during the session?
You have the option of interacting and participating live with audio and video. While this is not required, active participation is highly encouraged. Doing so makes the workshops more engaging, meaningful, and fun.
How do I register?
Registration is free and easy! Please select a cohort to join from the list below:
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 a compassionate learning-based approach to creating more equitable and inclusive environments. Since 2006, Anima Leadership has coached thousands of organizations on the journey from diversity to belonging, including the Blue Jays Club and foundation. Anima co-founders and authors Shakil Choudhury (Deep Diversity) and Annahid Dashtgard (Bones of Belonging and Breaking the Ocean) are leading thinkers on equity and inclusion issues and have spent more than two decades in the trenches of creating systems change. For more learning: www.AnimaLeadership.com
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.