The implementation of the Erasmus+ Sports: Small Collaborative Partnerships project, INCLUSION & GENDER EQUALITY THROUGH SOFTBALL, continues this week in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Olympia Haarlem will be hosting four club officials from Ghajnsielem Redcoats and another four from Softball Klub Princ Zagreb between Wednesday, May 10 and Sunday, May 14. Once again, Tara Henry, a former US Softball College player will also be participating in the activities planned for this 2nd transnational meeting between the three partners in this project.

On Wednesday the club officials will participate in an Open Day for children at the host club, whereby those attending will get the opportunity to see firsthand, and try out, the different sports which can be practiced at Olympia. This is in line with the efforts of the partners in this project to promote multi-sports with young athletes and to encourage children to participate in sports and be active.

The second day starts with a meeting among the club officials of the three partners to discuss ways to strengthen the administration of their respective clubs. Among the topics on the agenda there will be discussions on methods to assess and manage risks, formulating and implementing policies related to child protection and sexual harassment, explore ways to make the club family friendly, evaluate ways to be more inclusive, achieving gender equality within the Executive Committee, and managing the finances of the club with special emphasis on ways to generate revenue.

In the afternoon there will be a seminar on softball practice sessions each focusing on a specific skill. Ellen Roberts will make a presentation on how to build a pitching practice, while Dinet Oosting will explain how to build a practice session for catchers. The presentations will be followed with a practice session for the club’s U12 and U18 softball players so that the ideas presented during the seminar will be put into practice.

For Friday afternoon, the club officials of the three partners in the IGETS project will have a thorough presentation from experienced New Zealand softball coach and Head Coach at Olympia Haarlem, Stanley Doney on softball practices from the perspective of developing the skills of the athlete.

The concluding meeting will take place on Saturday morning. During this session the partners will discuss ways to conduct the ongoing evaluation of the implementation of their project. Surveys and assessments will be conducted over the coming weeks and will be repeated towards the end of 2018 to evaluate the impact of the project and the success of the partners to achieve the stated objectives. The club officials will also discuss activities which will be organised in their respective countries to increase awareness about the gender imbalances which prevail in sports as well as to give publicity to the project. The plans for the training camp and tournament for the U17 players of the three respective clubs scheduled for July 2018 in Zagreb, Croatia, will also be discussed.

On Saturday afternoon, the partners will be able to watch a Golden League softball game with Olympia Haarlem hosting city rivals Sparks. This is expected to be a very exciting game as both teams did really well last summer with Olympia Haarlem winning the European Cup Winners Cup and Sparks beating Joudrs Praha to win the European Premier Cup. On Sunday morning the representatives from Malta and Croatia will fly back to their respective countries.

This meeting is expected to build on the gains achieved in March in Gozo. Sharing of best practices will assist the partners in the preparation of their respective teams for the 2018 Zagreb training camp and triangular tournament. Should the objectives for this 2nd transnational meeting be achieved, IGETS will be well on course to help the three partners improve the standing of their clubs, especially administratively.

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