Joint Statement from Softball Yukon & Yukon Child & Youth Advocate Office (YCAO)
May 21, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Whitehorse Minor Softball season, as well as the Jays Care Foundation Yukon Indigenous Rookie League program facilitated through Yukon schools have been cancelled. The cancellation has brought with it the challenge of finding alternative programming suitable for these times, which led to the creation of the Safe At Home program.
“With the support of YCAO and Jays Care Foundation we have assembled 500 kits full of Softball gear and activities for youth ages 7 – 12 across the territory to still engage in the sport while we are apart” states Softball Yukon Program Coordinator, Sarah Walz.
In 2018, 122 Yukon Territory children participated in Yukon Rookie League. There was a 10% increase in Softball Yukon Minor Softball registrations. In 2019, 150 Yukon Territory children participated in Yukon Rookie League through Yukon schools. And in 2020, over 400 children had registered for Whitehorse Minor Softball before it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Although the third season of Jays Care Foundation’s Yukon Rookie League looks a bit different, it still incorporates the values of getting youth active and promoting their right to play” states Annette King, Child and Youth Advocate. “In these times, kids can be creative in how they play, even without formally organized activities.”
The Safe At Home program will begin this week with kits being shipped to Yukon communities, and available for pick up in Whitehorse to those registered. An online program will run in conjunction with the kits including weekly drills and challenges from Softball Yukon coaches and special messages from various notable figures in the sport world locally and beyond.
“We’re very excited to partner with Softball Yukon and the Yukon Child & Youth Advocate Office for our third season of Yukon Rookie League,” said Robert Witchel, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation. “We are so impressed how the program has been adapted to ensure the safety of all participants while continuing to positively impact kids across the Yukon.”
“We look forward to the opportunity to engage our youth while continuing to practice physical distancing” state Softball Yukon Program Coordinators, Sarah Walz & Michael Tuton.
Softball Yukon, is the recognized Sport Governing Body for the sport of softball. The mission of the Association is to promote and develop softball at all levels, by providing leadership, programs and services to meet the needs of all participants, thus enhancing the profile of Softball in the Yukon.
The Child & Youth Advocate Office is an independent office of the Legislative Assembly. The Advocate promotes the rights and views of children and youth eligible to receive services provided by the Yukon Government. The operations of the office are guided by the Child and Youth Advocate Act
Rookie League is Jays Care's most wide-reaching baseball for development program, specially designed to use the power of baseball and the appeal of the Toronto Blue Jays to foster lasting social change and create leaders beyond the ballpark. Jays Care works with partner organizations across the country to develop Rookie League programs that train local youth & adult staff to facilitate and measure the impact of high-quality programs for children in their communities. Rookie League works to enhance the life skills, physical health and positive self-identity of participating children and increase the confidence and employment skills of staff.
Intake and Communications Coordinator
Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office