It’s no secret that some of the most crucial decisions a girl makes are during her high school years. Sadly, teen girls in the U.S. have more unsupervised free time than anywhere in the world.
And despite the importance of after school programming for middle school and teen girls, nearly 10 million children in grades 6-12 take care of themselves after school. So when it comes to making a critical decision, many girls have no one to turn to.
Girls in the Game’s goal is to change all that. By providing a flexible schedule that lets girls have a choice about the activities and how much they participate, we keep teens engaged.
Many of our girls are first-generation college hopefuls. So we give them opportunities for college scholarship dollars. We also give them the opportunity to be leaders and mentors in their community so they can serve as role model for their communities.
Girls in the Game turns girls into strong leaders with the ability to help make meaningful change. To learn leadership skills to help educate adults, their peers, and younger girls about the benefits of sports and girls’ health issues.
Teen Squad is comprised of high school girls from across Chicago. They receive training from Girls in the Game on how to lead healthy-lifestyle workshops for younger girls and educate adult women on the needs of girls through Leader-to-Leader Interviews. Teen-led workshops cover sports and fitness activities, nutrition and health education, and leadership topics. Teen Squad members teach younger girls different leadership, nutrition and life-skills topics while earning incentives and college scholarship money for their involvement.
Our Leader-to-Leader Interview program is one of the most exciting aspects of Teen Squad. Girls in the Game identifies individuals in various sports, health and leadership-related careers and interested teens facilitate interactive interviews. They learn real life lessons such as the steps needed to seek a specific career and how teamwork is as important in the workplace as it is on the field.
An important part of the interviews occurs when the teens educate adults on the benefits of sports as well as the lack of access to programs that promote a healthy and active lifestyle. While teens advocate on behalf of themselves and their peers, they send a clear message that girls are strong, confident and if given a chance can change the world.
At the end of a healthy and successful school year, Teen Squad members work together to organize the Girls in the Game Olympics. GIG-O is a healthy-lifestyle event open to all younger girls who participated in Girls in the Game programs throughout the year. Teen Squad members work together to orchestrate the entire event—from selecting the activities to organizing supplies to assigning roles and leading programming on the day of the event.
In addition to these wonderful opportunities, Teen Squad also works together throughout the year on a professional development series, where the teens choose topics on which to receive training and advice from guest coaches, ranging from professional interviewing skills to goal setting to women empowerment. Teen Squad also participates in volunteering activities, field trips and other fun all-squad activities.
Girls in the Game’s Teen Club is a site-based program for girls in high school. Teen Club takes place over a 10-week season with the goal to empower teen girls through leadership development. Girls are coached on goal-setting and choose a personal goal to work on throughout the season. They are trained on Girls in the Game’s coaching best practices and exercise these skills by leading their peers or younger girls through a sports, health and leadership workshop.
Girls get to participate in a Leader-to-Leader Interview, where they interview a panel of women in different careers about their jobs, education, experience and advice, while also advocating for the rights of girls and women by expressing the need for programs such as Girls in the Game to the panelists. Coaches lead girls through an additional topic chosen by the girls to deepen their understanding and skills in leadership and health. Finally, the 10-week season culminates with girls presenting on the completion or progress of the goal they set at the beginning of the program, how to write their achievements in the program on their resume, and a certificate of achievement.
One of the most exciting aspects of the program is that it is entirely girl-driven. Girls choose the sports, health and leadership topics on which they receive training to coach other girls. Girls are the drivers of Leader-to-Leader interviews, where they develop interview questions based on panelists’ bios and lead panelists through the session. Girls develop their own goals and action steps to achieve progress on those goals. Finally, girls choose the Girls in the Game topic in which they would like to dive deeper ranging from healthy relationships to self-care to community safety. Because of this girl-driven structure, girls can come back for multiple, concurrent seasons and benefit greatly by honing their coaching and leadership skills while continuing to learn and try new things.
We are currently in several sites across Chicago including several high schools and the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
Summer Squad is open to all girls in Chicago, ages 14-18. This four-to-five-week program focuses on a different theme related to Girls in the Game each week.
Participants explore concepts of sports, health, and leadership through playing traditional and non-traditional sports, hands-on activities, interacting with professionals in various career fields, visiting local college campuses, and participating in small group work. Members learn how to enhance their leadership capabilities by teaching healthy lifestyle workshops to younger girls at parks and community organizations.
Thanks to a partnership with After School Matters, Summer Squad participants earn a stipend for their participation in the program, rewarding them for their hard work all summer.
Looking for a fulfilling summer job that will help build leadership skills while having fun? Girls in the Game’s Summer Camp brings over 120 diverse girls, ages 7-13, together and exposes them to positive female role models. Teen counselors and adult staff lead clinics on more than 30 different sports and fitness activities, as well as workshops on health and leadership topics for four-to-five weeks in the summer.
Teen counselors complete a Girls in the Game Best Practices’ Training and become certified in CPR/First Aid.