Trisha Yearwood Reports for Snack Duty

Country music superstar and New York Times bestselling cookbook author Trisha Yearwood and her sister, Beth, stopped by Play Like a Girl for snack duty during camp and filmed an episode of her Emmy® Award-winning Food Network series Trisha’s Southern Kitchen.

Trisha and Beth taught our girls how to make Easy Snack Skewers. Inspired by the day, Trisha whipped up some other snacks, too, including Baked Apple Chips with Rainbow Fruit Salsa, Power Wraps with Sweet Potato Hummus and Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins. With help from the campers and camp volunteers Abby Blair and Amanda Webster, Trisha and Beth also had fun playing like girls—volleyball, Double Dutch and all!

The episode of Trisha's Southern Kitchen featuring Play Like a Girl will air Saturday, August 18 at 10:30 a.m. ET, 9:30 CT on Food Network.

Yearwood, a former athlete herself, is known for her ballads about vulnerable young women from a perspective that has been described by music critics as "strong" and "confident". Yearwood is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Yearwood rose to fame in 1991 with her debut single "She's in Love with the Boy", which became her first No. 1 single and was featured on her self-titled debut album. Yearwood has continued to find success and widespread critical acclaim, selling more than 15 million albums worldwide, and has won three Grammy Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, an American Music Award, and a Pollstar Industry Award for touring.

On November 26, Trisha will join us again as Honorary Chair at the 8th Annual Play Like a Girl Honors Gala where she will gather a flock of fans and friends as we add a splash of Grammy Award-winning country to our only fundraiser of the year. Don your favorite cocktail dress and raise your glass for this elegant dinner and awards presentation at our host hotel Marriott Hotel Cool Springs in Franklin, Tennessee.

 


Play Like a Girl Hits the Ice

Play Like a Girl Camp strikes again! This time, our super exciting sports destination was the Ford Ice Center, where we had a seriously chilly and extremely FUN afternoon of ice skating.

We started the day off with an inspiring career panel — seriously, girls, the discussion was filled with major info — where we had a chance to meet six amazing women behind our favorite hockey team, the Nashville Predators, before being treated to our own little pizza party. They do EVERYthing for Smashville. In fact, Rebecca King, Senior Director of Community Relations, was hugely responsible for us being there.

We learned about a variety of careers from communications and social media to creative services and corporate partnerships. Before hearing from them, we really had no idea that we girls could do all of that in a male sport. I won't lie...we were a little shy! So, Dr. Kim and our parents asked all the interesting questions. But I promise we learned a lot.

When asked about failure, the ladies encouraged us girls to embrace failure as fuel to build our confidence and keep playing, learning and growing--both on and off the rink. A few talked about the challenges they face being women in a male-dominated workspace. "Often, I'm the only woman boarding that plane. The only woman in the locker room. At times this season, I've had to remind myself that I'm there because I'm qualified. I'm there because I'm great at my job, and I happen to be a woman," said Natalie Aronson, Corporate Communications Manager, who highlighted the important and unique qualities that women offer in the workplace as well as the critical role that male advocates play in the advancement of women in the sports industry.

Next, we gathered in teams of 3-4 for a quick STEM lesson and reaction time test. Using a yardstick and help from teammates, we learned about the importance of quick reflexes and response time in the job of the "goalie" on a hockey team. As you may know, the goalie's job is to prevent the opposing team from scoring a point by stopping the hockey puck from entering the net. Goalies need to have the ability to react extraordinarily fast when a hockey puck is whizzing towards them at 90 miles per hour, or they'll come up toothless, lol.

Resting our arms in the air, we held our thumbs and index fingers about an inch apart while a teammate held the yardstick so that its bottom end was between our two fingers. Without warning, the teammate holding the yardstick dropped the yardstick. And we closed our fingers to catch the yardstick as quickly as we could, repeating the activity until everyone had a chance at it. After each rotation, we wrote down the number of inches the yardstick fell before we caught it and calculated the average to see who had the quickest reaction time.

We learned that an average person catches the yardstick at around 6 to 8 inches. This is a reaction time of .177 to .204 seconds. That's pretty fast, right? But to match the reaction time of a professional hockey goalie, who needs to stop a puck traveling at 90 mph from 20 feet away, we would have to catch the yardstick at 4.5 inches! A hockey puck traveling at 152 feet per second will travel 20 feet in .152 seconds. That's about 1/10th of a second. It was a fun activity but we'd better keep practicing with our yardsticks if we ever want to become a goalie!

Finally, we laced up our skates and hit the ice. Some of us literally hit the ice. (Kidding! Or am I? I’ll never tell.) With the plexiglass surrounding the rink, the smell of stinky feet from the ice skates, cheers and flashing lights from cameras on the sidelines and the slick, shining ice, we might as well have been in a game at Bridgestone Arena. Oh, and did I mention that Gnash hit the ice with us too?! It was sooooo much fun!

After making several rounds (and several Boomerangs; we can’t help ourselves!), we removed all the layers and took it straight outdoors to the playground. We also replaced some of those calories we’d torched on the ice — our butts were feeling it from all the falls — with ice cream and slurpies after playing with new friends under the hot sun.

We want to say a huge thank you to our partners at the Nashville Predators and Predators Foundation that make fun camp days like this possible and to Ford Ice Center for hosting us at their magical ice rink! If you want to get in on our next super fun STEM and sports camp in September (Trust us, you do. It’s gonna be goooood.), then make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter here or in the footer of any page on our website.


A fresh, new website with you in mind

We are proud to announce the launch of the newly redesigned Play Like a Girl website, iplaylikeagirl.org. This redesigned site offers quick and easy access to essential information and features while offering a more comprehensive understanding of Play Like a Girl’s mission and program offerings. The website also offers updated information on news and press releases, participant testimonials, board member profiles and volunteer opportunities. Updated blog posts will include topics centered around health, confidence and leadership, as well as key industry highlights and news in the STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) and sports fields.

The primary objectives of our site development effort were focused on aesthetics, simplifying our content, increasing the visibility of our programs and improving the user experience. The new website has a clean uncluttered design, improved functionality and enhanced rich content focused on the organization’s mission to harness the natural properties of sport to propel young women into male-dominated careers at the intersection of STEM and sports. The new design also allows for streamlined menus, clear navigation and a responsive layout for all platforms.

“We are excited about our new website launch and the robust information it provides for participants, donors, partners, volunteers and media to better understand Play Like a Girl’s mission,” said Dr. Kimberly Clay, CEO of Play Like a Girl. “We believe that this new site will allow our visitors to have a very informative experience as we continue to grow and increase our online presence.”

In addition to the updated design and layout, the following new content and functions have been implemented in the new site:

  • Locations — It's easier than ever to find a Club, Camp or other Play Like a Girl program or event on our new locations page. To join a club, simply contact the Club coach at the email provided. Or, start a Club or host a Camp for girls in your community by clicking the respective button from the bottom of the page.
  • Get Inspired — Become an advocate for the power of STEM and sports to help girls reach their full potential by sharing your own stories and experiences participating in or coaching a Club, hosting a Camp or volunteering with a program or event. Our new blog highlights your stories from the field in new ways, bringing your stories closer to donors and inspiring others to stay in the game just like you.
  • Fundraise — The key business challenge for us right now is more repeatable, sustainable revenue so we've included new ways to genuinely engage with supporters to raise funds, increase awareness and reach new donors, especially focused on creating campaigns that encourage you to ask your friends and relatives to donate to Play Like a Girl.
  • Quick Links — While on any given page, you can now access the following key links from the footer or bottom of the page: Get Involved, Read Our Blog, Meet Our Team, Partner with Us, Press, Financials, Contact Us, Speaker Requests and Get Our Emails.

The new website will be updated on a regular basis with news of event announcements, program activity, corporate milestones, blog articles and press releases. Additional features including an online store and resource center on the backend for Club coaches and Camp hosts will be added over the course of several weeks.

Please explore the website and sign up for direct emails from us by adding your email address to the newsletter subscription box anywhere on the site. Your feedback is very important to us as we strive to develop a website that is valuable to you. Submit any questions, comments and concerns to us at www.iplaylikeagirl.org/contact-us/.

A special thanks to web developer and designer Georges Etienne of 84studios.net and the Huckleberry Designs and Social Cake teams for participating in the redesign process.


Closing the dream gap

Research shows that gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children's interests over the longterm. The average age that girls stop thinking they can be and do anything is six years old. That's when girls become less likely than boys to see themselves as "really, really smart."

This phenomenon is called the 'Dream Gap' and it stands between every girl and her full potential. It runs the gamut for girls and women around the world--from being unable to identify as very intelligent to being far less likely to picture their future selves as scientists, engineers or working in any STEM career role -- even when girls outperform boys in math and science.

The erosion of girls' confidence and self-esteem is well underway at age six, and they cannot imagine the possibility of anything else. Dreaming is the key to a future in which more than 80% of jobs are STEM-related.

The Dream Gap not only robs girls of their ability to value themselves but it takes away their ability to imagine new possibilities, explore new worlds and think new thoughts, which is what makes innovation and new breakthroughs possible.

How do we keep our girls dreaming? We keep them playing according to Mattel, the maker of Barbie.

The richest forms of play can help girls imagine themselves as athletes, scientists, coders, engineers, mathematicians or anything.

For nearly 60 years, Barbie has led girls on a path to self-discovery and helped them to imagine the possibilities. This type of play has the power to close the Dream Gap.

At Play Like a Girl, we're seizing this opportunity to harness the natural properties of sport (or active play) to propel young women into male-dominated careers--especially at the intersection of STEM and sports.

We envision a world where all girls have the confidence and opportunity to become unstoppable women. Let's inspire the next generation by showing them that they can be and do anything they can imagine.


Beyond Innovation

Over 2.8 million STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs are expected to go unfilled this year alone and those filled won't be filled by women. While women continue to make gains across the broader economy, they remain underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders--just like in sports.

Though numbers are growing, only 27% of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are female. The gender gap only grows worse from there: Just 18% of American computer-science college degrees go to women. And that's in the U.S., where many college men proudly self-identify as "male feminists" and girls are taught they can be anything they want to be.

Advancing gender parity in the workplace requires that we start early and design programs to tap into the potential of young women to contribute further in this vital sector. Middle school girls in Nashville are learning STEM lessons through the context of sport thanks to our programs at Play Like a Girl. They also are mentored by professionals whose day-to-day work crosses the lines of STEM and sports.

To do this work, we're continually developing our knowledge and partnerships through experiences like Beyond Innovation 2018 which brought together 200 global leaders from across the sports, tech, nonprofit, education, business, entertainment and development landscape, to create innovative cross-sector partnerships that use the global appeal of sport to advance STEM.

Former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color to go into space, Dr. Mae Jemison reminded us that we all have a responsibility to be beneficial to society as we are all connected and have all the answers we need to solve the world's problems. The renowned physician, engineer, social scientist, entrepreneur and educator suggested that “hands on, hearts on, minds on” is “the best way to teach STEM.” And we agree.


Nashville Sounds for the win

The Nashville Sounds baseball club selected Play Like a Girl as its “Charity of the Game” partner at last night's home game against the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Sounds fans and Play Like a Girl supporters were able to bid on custom game-worn “A League of Their Own” jerseys through an online, mobile and in-ballpark auction.

The pale pink jerseys, featuring the Sounds wordmark and iconic guitar, were worn to benefit Play Like a Girl, raising $2,200 to support our work locally. Auction winners that were present for the game were invited to the field to meet the player wearing the winning jersey and to get their jersey autographed.

In addition to the jersey auction, Sounds players hosted a softball skills clinic the morning of the May 26 game for girls between the ages of 12-14 to learn from Scrap Yard Dawgs outfielder A.J. Andrews. Andrews is the first woman and professional softball player to ever receive the Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

The day was amazing. Our girls were inspired. And we can now get more girls off the sidelines and into the game, thanks to A.J. and the many MEN responsible for this amazing win.

 

 


Athletes as activists

Play Like a Girl was recently invited to be a part of the United State of Women (USOW) Summit after Dr. Kim's work with the espnW Women + Sports workgroup on athlete activism in 2017. The USOW Summit brought together more than 6,000 women and allies for a program featuring women leaders like former First Lady Michelle Obama, actors and activitists Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi and Jane Fonda.

A number of elite women athletes headlined the event including Swim Cash, Mackenzie Hill, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Leslie Osborne and Gabrielle Reece. Their sessions showcased how they have defined a powerful vision through their trailblazing work breaking down barriers and building bridges in sports.

We believe that activist efforts seek to change the social climate and structures that make volunteerism necessary, yet few people understand their service as an important contribution to larger structural social change. To add to this already empowering summit, a team of Play Like a Girl Board members (including Jenne Blackburn, Nailah Ellis Timberlake, Adrienne Jordan, Corey Meyerson and Kenisha Rhone) traveled to Los Angeles to talk up the power of athlete activism.

Our goal was to help female athletes and laypersons understand the power and necessity of activism in achieving social change, and to reframe volunteerism and service as an effective act of dissent. We partnered with Paralympian Scout Bassett, Yahoo! Sports analyst Liz Loza and Dr. Jen Welter--the first woman coach in the NFL--to share stories of women who have found their voice and used it to support causes they believe in.

Our own Board member and MLB executive Celeste Bell was also a major voice on the panel, highlighting Play Like a Girl programs and sharing how athletes and those passionate about sport can propel our efforts to level the playing field for girls and women in sports.

Video from the Summit is available at facebook.com/theunitedstateofwomen.


Helping girls develop healthy eating habits

Hockey, soccer and volleyball are but a few of the endless sports available to keep girls active. Participation in recreational or competitive sports at a young age helps develop skills, confidence, good health and fitness, as well as helps to reduce risks for obesity and obesity-related diseases.

Adolescence is a critical period for physical growth and development--especially for girls. While sport is healthful in so many ways, it’s vital that young athletes consume enough dietary fuel for the extra energy demands. Furthermore, the timing of meals and snacks can be a challenge when scheduling school, homework, training and competition.

The constant cycle of practicing, playing, winning, losing and doing it again can be especially emotional for young athletes. Food is a quick, easy and accessible emotional bandage for the anxious, depressed or overwhelmed athlete. Parents can help their young athletes develop healthy eating habits by encouraging them to listen to their bodies. If girls eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full, they’ll let their bodies--not their emotions--dictate how much they eat.

Define healthy.
Discuss food (and beverages) as fuel for your athlete daughter. In the words of Catherine Steiner-Adair: ‘There is fuel, and there is fun. Some foods are fun but don’t give your body fuel and in fact might slow your body down. If you eat a lot of sugar, a little while later you may crash and become tired and crabby. And just like a car needs gasoline, your body needs good fuel to keep it running well. That’s why we eat healthy food at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.’

Teach variety.
Explain to your girl why she needs a range of choices to stay healthy. Eating well is key to support every athlete’s training program. Encourage her to eat wholesome foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains (e.g. brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads, etc.). Involving her in the process of menu planning, food selection and meal preparation may increase the likelihood that she consumes a nutritionally sound and varied diet.

Eat together.
Even when your schedules are tight, sit down and eat together as a family as often as possible. Research shows a positive connection between families who enjoy dinner together and girls who are confident, do well in school and have better relationships with their peers.

Stock healthy snacks.
Keep a variety of healthy snacks readily available. Store the snacks in a place where your young'uns can reach them, so that even the youngest can begin to make her own healthy choices about food. This helps girls learn to eat when their bodies tell them they are hungry, and not eat when they’re not.

Never use food to punish or reward.
Find ways other than eating to bond with your daughter. You can celebrate a victory without food — go for a walk together or sit down for tea, and let her know how proud you are of her. While it's unrealistic to never eat to celebrate, it is possible to find other ways as well. Remember, you're her first real role model.


5 ways to keep your girls active

Physical activity has multiple, far reaching effects that last into adulthood. For example, the physical training in a typical soccer practice helps reduce a girl's risk for depression while the strength training in that same practice will increase long-term skeletal health.

A commitment to physical activity is an investment in the future. Active girls do better academically, behaviorally and holistically.

Despite these and other known benefits, girls today may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their mothers due to a lack of sport participation and physical activity.

But we can change that.

Here are a few tips on how to keep your girls active:

  1. Host your own play day for your girls and their friends. Playing together with other girls in their own backyard not only gets your girls active, it also helps them navigate relationships and make memories that will last a lifetime.
  2. Sign your girls up for a local Play Like a Girl sports club or athletic team every season of the year. Play basketball in the winter--and softball in the spring. Take swimming in the summer. And run track in the fall.  These are all great ways for girls to sample a variety of sports while being active year-round.
  3. Be your girls' role model with a weekly sweat session of your own. If you're not an athlete who's mastered a particular sport, you can always take a fitness class or simply schedule time for a brisk walk or run in your neighborhood.
  4. Watch a television series like HBO's Being Serena together to introduce your girls to strong, active women of all ages and backgrounds. Change their perspectives about remaining active as they age.
  5. Start early. The first 10 years of life are game-changing. These early years provide a critical window for creating a lifelong commitment to physical activity.

 


Teamwork makes the dream work

Today we appointed six new members to the Play Like a Girl National Board of Directors, which is stacked with leaders who will help guide the organization’s efforts to keep girls from dropping out of sport and physical activity and grow our Play Like a Girl Clubs program to a broader, national audience in middle schools and community centers over the next five years.

Members of the Board of Directors are from national organizations and in markets across our evolving footprint and bring expertise in a variety of areas — recruiting, project and risk management, for instance, as well as sports marketing and law. They’re tasked with governing the organization’s work and helping to direct the nonprofit towards its goals as outlined in the Play Like a Girl 2022 Strategic Plan and will provide oversight of business and financial opportunities that will help the organization meet its goals and deliver on our mission.

“These women and men are leaders in their respective fields, and all of them are dedicated to serving the unique needs of girls from diverse communities across the U.S.,” said Play Like a Girl President and CEO Dr. Kimberly Clay. “We’re firmly committed to helping girls experience the joy of sport and physical activity at a time when they are forming lifelong habits, and making a difference in communities across our expanding footprint, and the Board of Directors is critical to those efforts. Teamwork makes the dream work.”

According to a study by Ernst Young and espnW, 94% of women executives in the C-suite first found success in sports. For former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it was tennis and basketball among others. For Nashville’s own Trisha Yearwood, it was softball. But according to Gatorade’s recent “Girls in Sports” study, girls drop out of sports at nearly twice the rate of boys by age 14 and, by age 17, more than half of girls will quit playing sports altogether.

The majority of young women Gatorade spoke to told them that they decided to drop out of a sport because they didn’t see a future for themselves in it and wanted to prioritize their time on school or other extracurriculars instead. Many girls did not see a way to balance both school and sports -- particularly if they didn’t think they’d end up playing professionally -- when, in fact, sports are known to help improve girls’ confidence, perseverance and other important skills necessary to succeed academically and professionally.

Play Like a Girl is on a mission to ensure that every girl reaches her full potential by providing girls ages 9-13 access to sport and physical activity. Through our signature program Play Like a Girl Clubs, girls in 6-8th grades are exposed to a sampling of sport and physical activity in a fun and friendly environment with the support of volunteer coaches, teammates and role models.

Club girls also deepen their love of sports and gain exposure to important STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts in sports while learning about exciting sports careers from female professionals at leading businesses and professional sports teams. These experiential learning opportunities are designed to bring out the best in our girls, allowing them to see the world of possibilities awaiting them beyond the field of play.

The Play Like a Girl Board of Directors is made up of 14 members, including five new members who serve areas across the organization’s expanded footprint. Help us welcome these new members to our team; they are:

  • Celeste Bell, Senior Director, Recruiting and Special Projects, MLB Advanced Media
  • Adrienne Jordan, Director, Project and Risk Management, Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee
  • Leigh Lovett, Associate Brand Manager, Mars Petcare US
  • Sara Toussaint, Vice President, Sponsorship Marketing, Wells Fargo
  • Daniel Werly, Managing Partner, Sievert Werly LLC