In celebration of 50 years of female inclusion and the 50th Anniversary of the Little League Softball® World Series (LLSWS) in 2024, Little League® Baseball and Softball is pleased to announce the launch of its “Girls with Game 50” Campaign (#GWG50) as part of a historic day at the AU Pro Games at the LLSWS, marking just one of the many ways the organization is strengthening its strategic focus on female inclusivity and opportunity.
“Over the last 50 years, we have been on a steady journey toward making Little League more accessible for girls and women,” said Nina Johnson-Pitt, Little League Senior Strategy Executive. “To truly be a program for all, we need to be intentional about leading with equity. Through some of the efforts outlined below, along with a variety of strategic efforts we are continuing to develop, our hope is that by 2032, there will truly be equal opportunities for participation among girls in the Little League program.”
While the #GWG50 Campaign will continue to grow and develop closer to the start of the 2024 season, below are just some of the fun and exciting opportunities that are ahead.
Continued Focus on Female Inclusion
Over the past 50 years, the Little League program has evolved into an important part in setting the foundation for female inclusion within the organization and youth sports. Looking ahead to the future, it is critically important for Little League to continue to find new ways to inspire, welcome, and develop the girls and women involved at every level, from the players on the field to the coaches, officials, and volunteers who make the experience possible each year.
To aid in these strategic efforts, Little League has committed itself to prioritizing its focus on providing the necessary funding, research, and resources in an effort to increase female inclusion and opportunity within every level of the program. Additionally, Little League will continue to work to find supporting organizations and partnerships that align with these same goals and values in hopes of providing the best possible support system to develop and achieve these goals.
“As part of our ongoing effort to provide more opportunities for girls and women, we’ve partnered with The Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport and DePaul University to pursue specific research to learn about current strengths and weaknesses related to engaging girls and women in the program, and to pilot a coach-training specific to coaching girls,” said Mrs. Johnson-Pitt. “The goal is to measure what is currently working and not working for making Little League Baseball and Softball accessible to girls, measure any differences in different locations where Little League operates related to gender equity, and pilot coach training in one location and measure its impact. We look forward to using the results to help guide future decisions to make Little League more equitable for girls and women across all aspects of the program.”
Some of the strategic efforts include creating initiatives and programmatic changes to increase access, offering creative and innovative programming, renovating fields, creating coaching opportunities for females, providing useful resources for fostering an inclusive environment for all females to succeed, and hosting events to encourage and inspire female participation.
An expansion of the Girls with Game celebration held every March, the #GWG50 campaign will be a year-long celebration that includes a series of interviews, digital content, feature stories, in-person events, unique activities, and more to celebrate the importance of the past 50 years. With the campaign set to officially kick off with the start of 2024, Little League is proud to unveil the official #GWG50 logo, creating the foundation for the year-long campaign and activations that will continue to be unveiled as the 2024 season draws closer.
Developed by Ologie, the same agency that created the newly branded Little League brand identity and logo, which launched in 2020, the #GWG50 logo is designed to represent the weight and power behind this celebration — the significance of fifty years of girls participating, thriving, and achieving in youth sports. It signifies the boldness it takes to compete, the sharpness needed to excel, and the flexibility needed to succeed in a team setting. The distinct shape of the logo can also act as a container to house our more energetic brand elements. It has the presence to stand alone, and the flexibility to work well and pair with any logo.
50th Anniversary of the LLSWS
In addition to celebrating 50 years of girls and women in the program, Little League is also gearing up to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Little League Softball World Series in 2024. The Little League Softball® World Series (LLSWS) has not always been the modern-day spectacle that now takes place in Greenville, North Carolina. The largest youth softball tournament in the world came from humble beginnings, with Little League® originally launching a softball pilot program in 1974 to gauge interest from local leagues across the country.
On August 4-11, 2024, the world will come together once again in Greenville, North Carolina, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Little League Softball World Series as nearly 150 Girls with Game take the field to compete for the title of World Series champion in honor of those who came before them.
Partnership with Athletes Unlimited
Coming off a historic August that saw the first-ever Athletes Unlimited Pro Games at the LLSWS on August 8-9, Little League is excited to continue its relationship with Athletes Unlimited as it heads into the #GWG50 celebration in 2024, helping to further grow the game of softball at every level of the program. By providing Little Leaguers with direct access to professional softball players, along with the opportunity to experience the fun and excitement of an Athletes Unlimited softball game themselves, the partnership provides Little League families and players with an experience that cannot be matched in any other youth softball organization.
Additional Events and Celebrations
Along with the excitement around the 50th Anniversary of the LLSWS, Little League will also be hosting a number of other special events and celebrations throughout the year to honor those girls and women who have paved the way in both baseball and softball, providing inspiration for the next generation of Girls with Game to represent the Little League program on and off the field at every level of play.
Some of those opportunities include a strengthened Girls with Game Experience, bringing Division I collegiate softball to the home of the Little League Baseball World Series; continued growth of the Girls with Game Celebration to officially welcome the participants of the Little League Softball World Series; and the first ever Girls with Game Baseball event, further helping to encourage females to participate in the Little League Baseball program and walk in the footsteps of the 22 girls who have made their imprint at the LLBWS over the years. More information about these events for 2024 will be made closer to their start dates.
To learn more about Little League Girls with Game, including how you can celebrate in your own community, visit LittleLeague.org/GirlsWithGame.