In its 5th year since its inception, Girls Got Game (GGG) was all set to continue its roving sports camps for young Filipina pre-teens around the country in 2020.
Founded by former athletes Krizanne Ty and Nikka Arcilla in 2015, GGG uses the power of sports to uplift underprivileged girls from their current socioeconomic status. Typically, during their weekend long camps, GGG and volunteers alike teach these girls team sports, such as basketball, football/soccer, rugby, and volleyball. Not only are the participants trained physically with drills and friendly scrimmages, but also strengthened mentally through talks by female role models who share the lessons they’ve learned in sports. Through these activities, GGG instills the values of discipline, hard work, teamwork, confidence, and grit in hopes that every Filipina realizes her innate potential.
To date, the non-profit organization has held 23 sports camps all over the country, empowering over 2,500 empowered Filipinas through sports. However, shortly after GGG’s latest camp in early March 2020, the team was forced to halt its upcoming camps due to the alarming COVID-19 pandemic. Like many of us, the core group had to realign their plans due to the unforeseeable circumstances.
“COVID-19 definitely derailed us because our primary service is sports camps. We really needed to pivot and expedite our other big ideas and plans beyond sports camps, yet ensure that still caters to our overall goal and objective. We knew our goal and still had the motivation to continue and push forward, despite the pandemic”, current Managing Director of GGG, Gely Tiu, explained.
With that mindset, GGG used other avenues to achieve its advocacy for female empowerment. Over the course of 2020, the team launched its very first E-learning series of sports modules on its social media platforms. In these videos, Filipina athletes and coaches from national and college teams teach and demonstrate a variety of exercises and drills in basketball, football, rugby, and volleyball that girls can access for free. GGG partnered with Nike Philippines to distribute WiFi modems and sports gear to campers from Sta. Maria, Bulacan to aid them in developing their skills alongside the e-learning modules.
GGG also organized an online donation drive to deliver hygiene essentials to female frontline health workers at the Research of Tropical Medicine (RITM) last May 2020. In partnership with Modess Angels and Carefree Philippines, GGG was able to give over 2,270 female hygiene products to more than 300 female frontliners.
Last December, in lieu of its annual Christmas camp, GGG gave out Nike sportswear, Internet modems, and snacks to the girls from Toro Hills Elementary School in Quezon City. In the same month, GGG was recognized as one of 18 Philippine organizations that advocate Mental Health in 2020 and listed as an awardee under the Women Empowerment and Support Category by the Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc.
Although sports camps will still be put to a standstill this 2021 due to COVID-19 limitations, GGG will continue to engage its community, including underprivileged girls and volunteers through its social media platforms. At the same time, the team is organizing projects with Modess, Nike, and Game On Sports PH and building a stronger online presence to spread the power of sports and campaign for women empowerment.
Through their initiatives, GGG is bringing the values learned from the court and field to inspire and give back to fellow Filipinas. “People can look forward to Girls Got Game continuing our impact beyond the sports camp model/set up,” Gely expressed.
Ms. Olivia “Bong” Coo, Chairwoman of the Women in Sports Commission of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), commends the work GGG has done in championing for female representation both in and outside of the sports domain. “GGG is giving young girls opportunities to hone their talents, build their self-esteem, and learn important life skills. The organization’s efforts are contributing to the progress towards overcoming gender inequality by proving that girls are truly capable of anything,” Ms. Coo declared.
With its growing influence, GGG is truly taking girls one step ahead of the game – even during the most unprecedented and challenging times.