Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, RC had developed a standard program model, adapted from years of experience and rolled out in its most updated form in January 2019. Four practices per week in each city, two for the younger girls and two for the older age group. 50 girls in each group, with five coaches, for a player:coach ratio of just 10:1. Girls would have snack time and warm up together, break into small groups for skill development, and then come back together for big games and discussions on practice themes led by the coaches.
It has now been almost a year since we ran one of these “normal” practices. In the months since our last project update alone, we have rolled back from in-person programming to completely virtual, run small group off-field activities, and then transitioned into our current “hybrid” model. Today, girls are participating in two weekly practices: one in-person on the basketball court and one on Zoom to get moving and connect with coaches and friends from their homes.
In December, we hosted group Zoom sessions with the mothers of over 80 girls in the program to check in on families’ well-being and reflections on 2020. They spoke of challenging times for their families, with increasing economic and health concerns, as well as worries about their daughters’ access to education. They also spoke of how RC has become an even more valuable outlet in the face of these challenges, describing how their daughters became stronger and returned from practice “energetic and optimistic”, emotions that have often been in short supply this year. We were almost as excited as the girls to welcome them back to basketball when sports re-opened on February 1, and the flexibility that defined 2020 has continued to be vital as we strive to remain a consistent source of support in 2021.
Up next, we’re looking forward to celebrating International Women’s Week from March 8-12 – on the field, on Zoom practices, and here on GlobalGiving alongside so many amazing organizations serving women and girls. We’d love to have you join us!