Featured Reader's Letter
Girls Sports ProgramsBeth M. Bubser
I believe there is a disparity between girls & boys sports here in Calvert County. I have asked the County to “level the playing field” by adding a Girls Volleyball program and a Girls County Competitive Basketball program.
I would like to update the county with the New Fall Volleyball program offered thru Parks & Rec.
The Parks & Rec Brochure was mailed on August 8th. I was out of town and didn’t come back until August 11th. While I was gone, received numerous phone calls and text’s from parents stating: couldn’t locate Girls Volleyball program in Parks & Rec Fall Brochure, description of program very confusing, not sure it was a Girls program, and very difficult to sign up.
One parent said “when I logged into the Parks & Rec website, “the registration failed, as the site requires a “grade” the child is in to register for volleyball. The web tracker keeps track of the child’s age, but not grade, so registering online is not possible, for most families. You have to call the Parks and Rec office. This took 4 attempts. No answer twice, then their system was down (third attempt), fourth attempt would not allow the Park & Rec employee to register my daughter, as it did not allow her to enter a price on her end? (This is what the employee said). So she added the girls grade in her computer, then I logged on, on my end and registered my daughter. I can only imagine how many other folks who would have given up and just not registered for the program. The Parks & Rec ladies were very nice, very helpful and somewhat frustrated themselves. They did call and email me later in the day to make sure I was able to register my daughter on my computer. I thought that was nice, but the whole process was challenging. Probably need to have an age, rather than a grade level for registration requirements. “
Another parents said, “I really wanted to sign my daughter up but they only offer it on Tuesday/Thursdays, the same day as her Parks & Rec Soccer.”
I picked up the Parks & Rec brochure and noticed there was No mention of the NEW Girls Volleyball or New Girls County Competitive basketball program on the front cover. There was however, a blurb highlighting, Competitive Basketball, along w/ a photo of boys playing basketball. I would have thought the photo should have been of girls playing volleyball or basketball, since they’re NEW programs. I looked thru the brochure and apparently overlooked the Girls Volleyball program. Near the end of the brochure, I noticed a page full of boxes, highlighting different programs, including the NEW FALL YOUTH Volleyball program, see page 18 for registration information. I proceeded to read the description:
This program “introduces youth to the sport of volleyball to develop skills and fundamentals. Game scenarios will be held in a controlled coach/player environment. Participants must purchase knee pads and bring them to each session.”
I’ve been advocating for a Girls Volleyball program, not a youth volleyball program. The Middle and High schools have a Girls Volleyball Team, not a youth volleyball team. There isn’t a youth Middle, or High school volleyball team in the state of MD.
The Volleyball program is new and yet the text in the Parks & Rec brochure is unclear and misleading. It omits gender, age group or grade level. For example, Intramural youth Basketball, listed on same page reads:
CCPR Intramural Youth Basketball for girls & boys grades 4-12. Program is designed for exercise, fun and social development. Team selections are scheduled for the second weekend in December. Practice starts the following week. Games start in January. Standings are not kept and no tournament is held.
This text is concise and to the point.
Two days later, on August 13th, I received a “flyer” from Parks & Rec for school distribution. The flyer start dates for volleyball program are incorrect. The start dates in the flyer, 9/9-10/30. The start dates in the Parks & Rec brochure, 9/2-11/4. Which dates are correct? The brochure gets mailed to every resident in Calvert County and the flyer is being distributed to thousands of students? This is a huge blunder.
The flyer gets distributed to the students on 9/2. If the program starts on 9/2, and flyer is distributed on same day, it’s too late. Even if the program starts on 9/9, the flyer is late. How do you get participants to sign up for a NEW program, if the dates are incorrect and program isn’t being promoted?
There has been No Advertising to date. No mention in the local papers, Nothing. The lack of advertising, coupled with the incorrect start/end dates in the Parks & Rec Brochure and School Flyer, confusing description in Parks & Rec brochure, program only offered on Tuesday/Thursdays (most sport programs offer practices on Tues/Thurs or Mon/Wed nights) will surely kill this new program. As far as recruiting Volleyball Coaches, the only mention was in the Parks & Rec Brochure and that was for recruiting multiple Coaches. Based on everything that has happened to date, it appears Parks & Rec doesn’t want the volleyball program to be successful.
Don’t get the girls, don’t get the Coaches, and don’t have a program.
The pie has been cut the same way. Parks & Rec offer boys, 4 indoor sports: wrestling, boys’ intramurals basketball, boys’ county competitive basketball and now volleyball. Parks & Rec offer girls 2 indoor sports: girls’ intramural basketball and now volleyball, except now, it’s a youth sport. Boys make up 66.6% of the indoor sports, while girls make up 33.3% of indoor sports. BOYS STILL HAVE TWICE THE NUMBER OF INDOOR SPORTS THAN GIRLS.
Parks & Rec needs to be fair and equitable. The boys don’t need another indoor sport program, until the girls programs, equal the boys.
This past spring, I contacted all the Middle School Volleyball Coaches to get the facts. There were 279 girls at last year’s Middle school Volleyball try-outs. Of the 279 girls who attended try-out, 31 volleyball teams, carrying a squad of 9 players, could be made. There were 175 Girls cut, and of those girls, 19 volleyball teams carrying a squad of 9 players could be made. Either way, there’s a definite interest in girls volleyball here in Calvert County.
In closing, I spoke to Bernice Sandler, the God-Mother of Title IX. She says,
“Girls do not have the same opportunities for participation in sports as do boys in Calvert County. This violates Title IX Education Amendment of 1972, which mandates no sex discrimination and requires equitable opportunities for boys and girls in all programs. Calvert County Schools have a responsibility to assure that organizations, such as Parks & Rec, using their facilities are providing equal opportunities for both boys and girls. To date, they are not.”
As with many things in life, there is strength in numbers. I implore each of you to reach out to our Commissioners and demand that a GIRLS Parks & Rec Volleyball program is offered in the County. Commissioners may be reached via email email@example.com" target="_blank">http://firstname.lastname@example.org ">email@example.com or by phone 410-535-2160.
Very truly yours,
Beth M. Bubser