The Girls Play Los Angeles (GPLA) program is focused on girls’ sports throughout the Department's under-served communities. The program strives to get and keep girls involved in sports and living a healthy lifestyle, while making friends, building self-esteem and having fun. It has been demonstrated, that in many underserved communities, barriers to participation exist based on a belief that there are specific family gender roles or that income should be prioritized on male family members first. The GPLA program is subsidized so that all girls can participate, regardless of economic inequalities or cultural barriers.
For more information on how you can become part of ongoing girls only sports leagues, please contact a GPLA staff member at
The overall Department gender equity goals are to encourage the participation of youth in sports and recreation programs and to; provide opportunities to youth for recreation, address under-representation in sports programs where one gender or another is not adequately represented, improve the representation of females assigned to the administration of sports and recreation programs, improve the representation of females in positions of leadership, increase the number of female coaches, referees, instructors, mentors and other role models, and to ensure that the Department is equitable in its distribution of resources for all youth.
HOW CAN I GET GIRLS INVOLVED AND KEEP THEM INTERESTED IN SPORTS?
Start them early. It's important for girls to become involved in sports at an early age. A University of Virginia study showed that if a girls does not participate in sports by the age of 10, there is only a 10% chance that she will be physically active when she is 25. But how do you get her interested in sports and keep them interested?
MAKE IT FUN
There is more to sports than fitness and competition; there is also the fun of participating. Many girls say that "fun" is their primary motivation for being active.
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
Parents are a main source of encouragement and motivation for girls to be active. It is important for you to encourage her. Go biking or walking together; take her swimming or roller blading.
FIND A ROLE MODEL
Female athletes don't appear in the media spotlight nearly as often as male athletes. As a result, girls sometimes have a hard time imagining themselves in sports careers. A good role model shows girls what's possible; that females can participate in sports and succeed. A good role model could be an Olympic medalist, a sports writer or your next-door neighbor who runs regularly.
FIND THE RIGHT SPORTS
It's important to find the right sport, because a girl is not participating in a sport she likes, she probably won't stick with it. Ask questions to determine her motives and interests. Is she interested in a team or individual sports? Would she prefer soccer over swimming? Find out what she likes to do and what she thinks she's good at doing. Would she like to try something new? What kind of goals does she have? Does she like to compete, or does she just enjoy the activity? Also, try to expose her to a variety of sports and encourage her to find the right one.
Involvement in sports is a means of staying in shape and staying healthy. What we don't always realize is that physical activity also helps girls gain competence and self-confidence. Sports offer girls opportunity to develop leadership skills and work as part of a team toward a common goal. Because many girls come out of adolescence with a lower self-image and less confidence in themselves and their future than boys, confidence building is very important for girls.
Physical activity not only builds muscles, it also helps build self-esteem
A recent study of adolescent girls found that physical activity increases self-esteem, promotes a positive body image and helps girls feel better about themselves. Most adolescent girls say they enjoy physical activity, and girls who participate in sports are more willing to take risks and try new activities. These positive benefits of physical activity can carry over into academics and other activities, too.
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TIPS FOR GETTING GIRLS INVOLVED IN SPORTS:
• CONTACT your local City of Los Angeles Recreation Center for Program Information
• SET AN EXAMPLE by being active yourself
• MAKE TIME for exercise
• DISCUSS SPECIFIC INTERESTS and let her choose activities she enjoys most
• SHOW ENTHUSIASM be a fan without expecting superior athletic achievements
• GO TO HER GAMES
• PRACTICE with her at home
• SHOW AN INTEREST in her achievements and in her concerns
• MAKE PARTICIPATION FUN, not a chore
• ENCOURAGE her to walk or bike with you
• HELP HER SET GOALS that are reasonable and achievable
• BE AWARE of how she is feeling physically and emotionally
• EMPHASIZE ENJOYMENT and personal improvement rather than focusing only on winning.
For more information on Girls' and Womens'
Sports Opportunities, please talk to your
Recreation Director or call the Municipal Sports Section