OSWEGO, N.Y. – The City of Oswego YMCA is teaming up with the SUNY Oswego Women’s Basketball players for the “Her Time to Play” program.
The program was created by the NCAA and is in its second year in Oswego. “Her Time to Play” is not only about teaching basketball. It also teaches young girls about confidence and how to deal with adversity in the sports world.
Jennah Lamb, the YMCA family director, is in charge of the program in Oswego and Fulton. The class, she said, helps the girls make friends and practice their social skills. There are a number of members who are homeschooled and do not get as much social interaction.
The Oswego Women’s Basketball team serves as coaches and role models for the younger girls. The team takes turns rotating who will come to coach each week.
The program has left a lasting impression on many of the women on the team. Graduate student Danielle Caivanna said this program is one she hopes to bring to any school she works at in the future, because she sees a real value in the program.
“When I was growing up, I was the only girl playing basketball with all boys, and it was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t like I got to meet girls that were into the same thing as me until I got older and was on AU teams and other advanced teams that I met girls,” Caivanna said.
“But some of these girls are seven years old, so it would have been cool to be able to do something like that,” Caivanna said.
There are other programs at the Y that focuses on female empowerment. Lamb also hosts a mentoring program called “Girls Rock,” where she teaches girls about black history, gender identification, and LGBTQ rights.
Lamb said that she aims to give these girls an outlet to talk about their feelings or ask questions that they may not want to bring to their parents.
The program has gotten some push back from members of the community. Lamb said that when they celebrated Pride month, some parents pulled their children out of the program in retaliation. But Lamb doesn’t let this phase her. She said there is a strong need for these kinds of programs in the community.
“It’s really important that I get the message of inclusivity out there in general, but also so that people can see the Y as a place for everyone to come, no matter sex, gender, ability,” Lamb said.
The “Her Time to Play” program is still accepting registration, which can be found online or in person at the Y. The Oswego Y plans on continuing this program in the future.