Girls Lacrosse Camp in the interior seeks to increase numbers of females playing Box Lacrosse

All Girls Lacrosse Camp held in Armstrong, BC in an effort to increase numbers of female athletes playing Box Lacrosse for the upcoming season.

Lacrosse is one the fastest growing sports in Canada. The girl’s camp held in Armstrong, BC at the Hassen Arena was a unique partnership with Storm Selects Lacrosse Society, Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association and Indigenous Sport Physical Activity Recreation Council – Interior Region. With the upcoming box lacrosse season beginning in April, the camp was seen as an opportunity to get the word out and offer a chance for female athletes to connect with one another pre-season and sign up with their local associations who are open for early registration for the upcoming box lacrosse season.

Penni King, Female Director, Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association (PMLA), has been instrumental in growing female box lacrosse. PMLA has been able to open the doors to athletes from other associations to play on teams at girls tournaments in Coquitlam and Maple Ridge and also for introducing girls field lacrosse. This activity is in an effort to increase female numbers for the interior region.

Cherlyn Billy, a Director with Storm Selects Lacrosse Society, has been involved with Indigenous female box lacrosse since she managed the U19 Female Box Lacrosse team that played at North American Indigenous Games in Toronto, ON. She spoke with Coach Kiana Point in December about coaching the camp. Kiana, a member of the Popkum First Nation, who started playing lacrosse with North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse at age 5, immediately said “Yes”. As one of the only females playing on co-ed teams, Kiana’s knows first-hand the confidence and physical fitness that can come from playing lacrosse. She has played for Team BC Junior winning gold, more recently, with the inaugural North American Indigenous Games 2017 U19 female box lacrosse team and in 2018 with the U21 Storm Lacrosse Travel Team that played at the Nations Lacrosse Tournament in Six Nations.

The support from the Indigenous Sport and Activity Recreation Council Interior Region, Buzz Manuel, offered an opportunity to make the camp accessible to those who wanted to learn without cost to the parents.

Hassen Arena in Armstrong is the only arena not filled with ice during the winter months. Centrally located, participants travelled from up to 2 hours, coming from Penticton, Merritt, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, and Cache Creek, to receive skill development, gain new skills, and get warmed up pre-season. The camp had girls with a varying background in lacrosse. There were a few who were just picking up a lacrosse stick for the first time and others who had played for a year and a few who had competitive playing experience. For the majority of them, this was their first time playing with other females since they were usually the only ones on co-ed teams in the interior.

Storm Selects Lacrosse Society acknowledges the 20 girls between the ages of 10 to 17 years of age who registered; is grateful for the parents who drove their daughters; and for the additional coaching support from Coach Jim Point and for the goal tending support from Josh Point and the Kinnas, who coach the girls teams with the PMLA.

The success of this camp speaks for itself. Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association has indicated they want to keep the momentum going and will be working to hold one more camp pre-season (March).

Seeing so many more females getting into the sport makes me so happy. I’m excited to see where the interior will be in a few years for female box lacrosse and field. These girls are the start of something huge. I feel blessed to have been a part of it”. Coach Kiana Point, January 25, 2020