Rookie League provides a platform for a wide range of children and youth experiencing diverse barriers to join together and participate in highly inclusive, mixed ability, safe and fun softball and/or baseball programming. Rookie League is the ultimate safe-space for any young person looking to find their team, develop new skills and have fun. Rookie League is developed for children and youth who face multiple barriers to participation or who are forced to sit on the sidelines. The goal of Rookie League is to build a sense of community and belonging for children and youth who often opt out of other sport programming. These athletes may face multiple barriers to participation including but not limited to, financial barriers, language barriers, sexual orientation/expression, responsibilities at home, etc.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:
- For 1 in 3 Canadian children, cost keeps them out of sport and extracurriculars (KidSport Canada).
- In Canada’s largest study on homophobia in sport, over 70% of respondents believed youth team sports are not welcoming or safe for the 2SLGBTQ+ community (Out On The Fields, 2015).
- In MLSE’s Change The Game Research 2.0 (2022) 82% of youth reported report not having anyone they feel they can talk to about experiences with racism or discrimination in sport. This includes Black and Indigenous women and girls, and increases among Latinx women and girls (89%), youth from Northern Ontario (91%) and youth with a visible disability (94%);
There are Rookie League programs all over the country. Jays Care is here to help make it easy to launch and run a Rookie League program that changes lives and leaves a lasting legacy.
Start a Rookie League program in:
- Your community. Learn More.
- Your school. Learn More.
- Your Tribal Council or Indigenous Health Authority. Learn More.
We help you every step of the way!
- Looking for information on Toronto Community Housing Rookie League? Toronto Community Housing is getting ready to launch another great year of TCHC Rookie League! Details will be coming soon on the TCHC website – so stay tuned! For more information, reach out to: [email protected]
- 4,447 children and youth participated in Rookie League programming across the country
- 65 different communities hosted Rookie League programs across the country
- 100% of Rookie League coaches reported that a majority of participants in their program demonstrated an increased love of sport.
‘The Rookie League program brings kids together and provides an opportunity to play where there is no peer pressure. We had an athlete in our program who has always been afraid to socialize with anyone and softball is really bringing him out of that shell. He is having fun with his teammates and is now thinking of signing up for other types of sports!’ – Rookie League Coach, Ontario
‘The Rookie League program is a wonderful asset to our organization! It allows us to access programming in our rural area and provide it to children of all backgrounds which would not have otherwise be possible. Providing children with baseball programming is changing and bettering the communities we serve, and we are so excited to be a part of that positive change.’ – Rookie League Coach, Newfoundland
‘I think the biggest highlight from this program has been servicing youth who are currently in the foster care system and facing significant challenges and stressors. These youth don’t normally get a chance to participate in sport, and often even when the opportunity is presented, they would not be in a situation where those who support them could afford to purchase the necessary equipment. Because of this program, there will now be equipment for these youth in their own community that they can access at no cost.’ – Rookie League Coach, Yukon
INDIGENOUS ROOKIE LEAGUE
- 1,138 children and youth participated in Indigenous Rookie League programming
- 8 leagues ran, involving 46 First Nations communities
- 84% of surveyed athletes reported feeling like they belonged when participating in Indigenous Rookie League
‘Indigenous Rookie League has allowed for youth who enjoy baseball to play in their First Nations and play other youth in neighboring First Nations. When visiting Frog Lake First Nations, I spoke with a mother that shared with me that her son is so engaged and excited that he started to practice baseball at home for hours each night!’ – Indigenous Rookie League Coach, Alberta
‘A goal of our Indigenous Rookie League program is to connect everyone involved with our Anishinaabe culture. When we play baseball, we’re still Anishinabek, that isn’t going to change. So, if the kids can see that when we play ball, through things like prayer, giving thanks, or playing a drum song before the game, it gives them something to be proud of. And not just when they are at baseball, but everywhere they go. They should have that opportunity to see who they are and feel who they are all the time, not just once or twice a year at a pow-wow. And that is what we try to do with this program.’ – Indigenous Rookie League Coordinator, Ontario