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Seattle Storm Partners with Nike to Help Grow Sport for Girls in the Greater Puget Sound Region

October 22, 2020 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Seattle Storm News Release

SEATTLE, Wash.  - The Seattle Storm is proud to announce a partnership with Nike, the WNBA and NBA for Season Two of Game Growers, a unique and empowering opportunity for girls 13 years or older in seventh or eighth grade to share their ideas on how to encourage more girls to play sports.

The Storm is one of 38 teams participating in the second season of the program. Applications will be accepted from Oct. 11 through Dec. 4 for two Co-Captains, who will lead the development of an idea to grow sports for girls. The Storm's Game Growers team will develop and test their idea, creating a Game Plan to grow sports participation for girls right here in the Greater Puget Sound Region.  New this season will be the addition of Game Growers Teammates, who are girls 13 years or older in seventh or eighth grade who support Co-Captains on their journey.

"Nike believes that girls who move, move the world. And we know that 13 is a critical age to keep girls engaged in sport so they can reap the benefits of being active," said Caitlin Morris, General Manager of Social & Community Impact at NIKE, Inc. "This is the age when girls are likely to drop out of sport - a lack of supportive coaches or access to the right product to play with confidence are two of many reasons why. Inclusive, community-based programs like Game Growers connect girls to play and sport and provide them with the opportunity to shape the future of the game for other girls, too."

"The Seattle Storm is committed to empowering women and girls both on and off the court," said Storm CEO and General Manager Alisha Valavanis. "Game Growers' purpose of providing girls with encouragement and resources to stay in sports and gain leadership abilities matches the Storm's goals of supporting girls in the greater Puget Sound region."

"It's important for girls to stay in sports because it helps them develop their self-confidence," forward Alysha Clark said. "It gives them the opportunity to fuel their competitiveness in a healthy way and helps them with their problem solving & time management skills. I know for me, sports gave me the opportunity to find my assertiveness and taught me how to apply that in my everyday life. Sports taught me it's ok to be confident and fierce while being female."

By age 14, girls are dropping out of sport at twice the rate of boys. According to a 2018 study from the Women's Sports Foundation, nearly 40 percent of girls don't participate in sport, versus 25 percent of boys. Game Growers girls are already playing sports. By participating in the program, they not only have the potential for their ideas to get more girls playing, they also have the chance to grow their own leadership potential by developing ideas that make a difference in their community and having their voice heard.

Game Growers Timeline

Girls joined the Game Growers Season Two Launch virtual event on Oct. 11 at 12 p.m. PDT. The experience featured trainers and Nike athletes who encouraged even more girls to join this year to help increase girls sport participation.

After the virtual launch event, girls can visit com to sign-up. Applications for both Co-Captains and Teammates will be open from Oct. 11 until Dec. 4 at 11:59 p.m. PST at www.gamegrowers.com.

Game Growers participants will be notified by Jan. 15, 2021 and will earn a chance to develop their ideas to get more girls playing sports.

These ideas - known as the Game Growers Game Plans - will be shared on the website in Spring 2021.

Season One Success

Game Growers projects in Season One embodied five key themes, which collectively create a sport environment where girls are included, valued and supported:

CREATE CONNECTION: Promote teamwork, community and skill-building through sport without the need for a "winner."

BRAVE, NOT PERFECT: Build and instill confidence by learning the fundamentals of the game through compassion, creativity and risk-taking.

GIRL CHECK: Empower girls to get involved through programs that focus on female mentorship and girls-only camps.

LET HER COMPETE: Create diverse opportunities, including multi-sport clinics, co-ed and mixed-age group events, that empower girls to free their competitive drive.

PROGRESS, NOT OUTCOMES: Support girls as they find ways to access resources that will break down barriers over time.

The 2019 Storm Game Growers, Allie and Olivia, noticed the need for positive role models to help them feel inspired and encouraged as they continued to grow and develop as athletes. With all the pressures of being a middle school girl, they wanted to find ways to become positive influences and empower younger girls, provide opportunities for fun recreation and create a mentorship program for underserved communities. Their original concept of the Heroes in Training Squad morphed into an executable Game Plan that focused on multiple themes: BRAVE, NOT PERFECT, CREATE CONNECTION and GIRL CHECK. Allie and Olivia's Game Plan came to life as they hosted a free basketball skills session for over 50 girls in the White Center community. Twenty-four girls of those who attended had never played basketball before and expressed that they wanted to continue playing following the event.


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