The implementation of the Erasmus+ Sports: Small Collaborative Partnerships project, Inclusion & Gender Equality Through Softball, commenced on Thursday, March 9, in Ghajnsielem, Gozo, home of the Redcoats, the project leader, with the arrival of eight club officials representing Softball Klub Princ Zagreb from Croatia and Olympia Haarlem from the Netherlands. They were joined by Tara Henry, a US softball coach and former UCLA Bruins college softball player who was invited to contribute with her experience and knowledge about the game.

A series of activities intended to exchange good practices in coaching softball were organized involving the youth teams of the Ghajnsielem Redcoats. In order to promote the game and increase the rate of participation of children, especially girls, in softball, one activity was held at the Gozo College Ghajnsielem Primary School. There were also two workshops for the officials of the three clubs in order to evaluate the performance of the partnership in implementing the project, as well as to plan ahead. A seminar for stakeholders and policymakers was also held to cover the topic of this first transnational meeting, A Multisport Approach to Softball.

The activities which took place in Ghajnsielem were successful in achieving the objectives that were set out at the start. The visiting club officials came to appreciate the importance of multilateralism and the necessity to encourage young participants to practice more than one sport for their long-term athletic development. The process of exchanging good practices in coaching softball got underway and will continue when the partners next meet. The effort to promote the game with school children was very effective given the feedback from the children themselves, their teachers and parents, as well as the Head of School. The objective to raise awareness with policymakers and stakeholders is an on-going process. However, features on TV programs which will air on Maltese national television over the coming days as well as meetings with key government officials before and after the activities that were held in Gozo are expected to achieve the desired results.

On Sunday morning the visitors left for their respective countries satisfied with the achievements of their project IGETS and looking forward to the next transnational activity scheduled for May in Haarlem.

Disclaimer: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Detailed article available here

-Joseph Scicluna-