Deportistas - One Year in the Making!

Happy International Women’s Day 2018 from our deportistas (female athletes) in Nicaragua!

Last International Women’s Day, LtN had just started up its girls-only program down in Nicaragua - spurred by the addition of boys’ equipment to our co-ed practices, the presence of a female program director and strong female coach, Darien, along with a donation of women’s equipment from Princeton Lacrosse.

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Our girls-only program started out with former program director, Brooke Wilson, spending time at Chiquilistagua public school during recess. After teaching English class in the school, Brooke would bring out the donated women’s equipment to pass around with anyone who showed interest. In our first blog post about starting the program, Brooke reflected on her efforts.

The creation of a women’s program will take some time. Interest for the sport needs to grow organically – similarly to how we started our co-ed programs years back. I spend time at Chiquilistagua on Monday and Thursday afternoons, so that girls can join during recess or come outside of the co-ed practice time to receive girl-specific instruction. Right now, we have five girls who have been attending outside of co-ed participants, with new ones showing interest.

And show interest they did! Looking back a year from today, we have so many moments to attribute the establishment of the current girls’ program to…

Thanks to three groups of amazing female players coming down this past summer (shout out to Richmond Women’s Lacrosse, Code Lacrosse, and CNU Women’s Lacrosse), we were able to recruit new players for the program, give one-on-one instruction in a practice setting, and show the girls how fun lacrosse can be. The ability of the U.S. women’s players from our summer groups to connect with, teach, and serve as role models for our young girls became the catalyst for the program’s launch.

  "I love being a coach because I enjoy spending time with the girls and getting to know each one of them. I love seeing how excited they are to play lacrosse! I hope the program continues growing and that we can expand to other schools."

"I love being a coach because I enjoy spending time with the girls and getting to know each one of them. I love seeing how excited they are to play lacrosse! I hope the program continues growing and that we can expand to other schools."

Additionally, at the close of last summer, Darien, along with our other Nicaraguan coaches, received comprehensive coaching training from STICK WITH IT! Lacrosse, who visited LtN’s sites in early September. Thanks to Stick With It’s training program, Coach Darien was equipped with more drills, expanded leadership skills, and heightened confidence as she has stepped up into the head coaching role.

This year, the program now runs full force! Instead of impromptu recess sessions, the girls formally practice three times a week, with an hour-long practice before school on Monday mornings. With 28 girls attending each week, Darien leads practices with Program Director, Susan Hyman as her assistant. LtN’s girls-only program not only provides these young ladies with their own space to play, learn, and develop life skills; it will also, hopefully, begin to provide them with sessions from a guest speaker this season!

Peace Corps member and former lacrosse player, Brynn Miller, is looking to feature Peace Corps’ curriculum focusing on female empowerment within Nicaragua’s machismo culture. Brynn approached LtN when looking for a platform to introduce her curriculum, expressing that a sport-focused environment is an ideal space to hold discussions concerning self-confidence and positive relationships with others. The aim will be to incorporate this curriculum into Coach Darien’s training, in order for these discussions to continue in our practices for years to come.

As you can see, LtN has a lot to be celebrating on this International Women’s Day! The addition of our girls-only programming has expanded LtN’s reach and continues to spread the impact sport is having on our youth.