I AM A GIRL. I CAN DO ANYTHING

BACKGROUND

2016 Campaign

In 2016, Hills Basketball Association launched a campaign to encourage females to play Basketball. The concept I am a GIRL. I can do anything! I can play BASKETBALL. was launched as a print campaign and proved very successful in promoting Women’s Basketball.

Funding plays a major part in the equation to expose Women’s Basketball. Sports such as Women’s AFL & Cricket are supported by both Government grants and the Men’s National Leagues, which are owned by the National Sporting Organisation. Resources and support provided to their respective Women’s Leagues has resulted in increases in female grass roots participation, supporters, game officials and most importantly a connection to positive role models and leadership.

As a sport, Basketball has been exposed predominately through our Men’s National Basketball League (NBL) and in 2016/2017 season the League has produced campaigns and coverage to show the extent of talent and the games capacity to entertain. This is a huge step forward for Basketball not only in exposure but in the potential to retain talented athletes and to draw world-wide recognition. Unfortunately the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) struggles to gain free-to-air or Pay TV exposure, retain athletes and funding. As the NBL continues to grow, hopefully more resources and publicity will be available to expand Women’s Basketball. But our structure is different to those of AFL & Cricket, so other sources may need to be found to solve our issues.

Anyone who works in sport knows that it takes time, considerable effort and money to promote from the top down. And as an Association, we can see changes both at State and National level to regain the sporting market. However this will take time and it can’t be our only solution. So as an Association we decided to take on one of our biggest issues …. female participation numbers. We needed to show the community that Basketball is a game for everyone, no matter size or skill. That you are not limited to one position or area, that Basketball provided a platform for fun, friendships, development and healthy lifestyle.

Thanks to a very talented local photographer, Cirilo Almario and a mixture of female players from the Association (ranging from 5-16yrs) the group came together to illustrate the enthusiasm, passion and dedication for Women’s Basketball.

The I am a GIRL. I can do anything! I can play BASKETBALL. campaign was never about evening up the ratio of males to females, it was about awareness and encouragement. Our main aim was to increase participation levels for 8-16yr girls and to provide multiple grades for each age group. While Hills Basketball is the second largest Association in New South Wales, the retention rate for girls was much lower than boys. Surveys confirmed that lack of grades within competitions was the main catalyst for withdraw. Girls would compete against  experienced and elite players in their first season, often resulting in embarrassment and humiliation. The Association implemented quick fixes such as  the ‘mercy rule’ and ‘representative rule’ and while they helped reduce the impact they did not resolve the issue. A larger number of teams and a variety of grades was always the solution, we needed to increase participation numbers and we needed additional programs to help in their development. But firstly, we needed a campaign to help drive numbers.

While the campaign was never aimed to be a quick fix, it did provide an increase in numbers and slowly we are seeing results. The campaign was stagnated throughout the year to build and encourage girls to take a step towards playing and with additional courts due to open June 2017, the growth should allow for further expansion of competitions.

2017 Campaign

It’s funny how when you really start to look at our game and the statistics what you’ll find. The stadium was at full capacity, all positions filled, the Association was successful on & off the court, however the statistics showed we lacked women in leadership roles, diversity and pathways for women. While I’m sure this issue is far bigger than Women’s Basketball, we needed methods and programs to break the cycle. The 2017 campaign of  ‘I am a GIRL. I can do anything! I can play BASKETBALL.’ sets out to inspire the next generation to become leaders. To encourage women to earn and obtain sports leadership roles. It’s about encouraging them to challenge gender stereotypes and encourage more women and girls to reach their full potential.

Once again we have been lucky enough to borrow the talents of Cirilo Almario to capture the campaign, but in 2017 we have expanded the creative volunteer group to include Prince Claudio, Danielle Mendoza, Nick Graham and Michael Maait. The group utilised the original cast plus additional players, coaches and referees and this time they’ve captured community spirit, friendships and strength of women in leadership on film. 

In conjunction with the campaign, the Association has launched a Leadership scholarship program to incorporate female youth players, youth referees, coaches and referee coaches to develop both technical skills and leadership qualities. 

The ‘I am a GIRL’ Leadership Program will provide an opportunity for females to become scholarship holders and will consist of two workshops involving guest speakers from within our sport and other leaders in the community.  In addition, a development tour will be organized for coaches and referee coaches in June, attending the National Classic and working with national level coaches. Click here for more details.

We have a strong female involvement in basketball and this group will lead the development and ensure the sustainability of our women’s program. We hope from this campaign we will encourage females to be involved at all levels & in all aspects of our game.

2018 Campaign

I Am A Girl Program recognised by Basketball NSW and launched state-wide. With Basketball NSW now conducting seminars and further links to leadership courses, the timing was perfect allowing the Hornets to open two new courts at the Hills Basketball Stadium.

Once again Hornets provided scholarship for 17 amazing Women, with two new scholarships offered in Media. The Association continues to grow and numbers are slowly increasing in both female leadership and participation. Additional targets for gender balance introduced at Board and within Representative Coaching program.Click here for IAAG Scholarship details.

2019 Campaign

The Association is set to revamp the I AM A GIRL program in 2019, having completed the stadium extension the time to expand Women’s Basketball is now. Scholarships, All-Girls Skills Sessions, All-Girls Camps, Seminars, plus new films and other programs on offer. 2019 is set to establish a much better platform for girls in Basketball, in all facets.

Click here for IAAG Scholarship details.

FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT Zoe Burke on 02 9894-8944 or zoe@hillshornets.com.au