Local Non-Profit ‘Count Her In’ Raises $31,000 At Inaugural Event

As the popularity of women’s sports continues to rise globally, local non-profit Count Her In is taking action to ensure young girls in Essex County have equal opportunities to participate in athletics.

The organization hosted its first annual Count Her In celebration at Pelee Island Winery on June 13th, 2023, raising an impressive $31,000 to reinvest back into the local community. The non-profit aims to create a supportive environment for girls to develop their skills and confidence.

Kara Murray, Founder of Count Her In, emphasizes the importance of grassroots initiatives in promoting female athletics.

“Our mission is to create female leaders by getting and keeping more girls in sports. We want to foster an athletic environment where girls can thrive without limitations. By supporting them at the community level, we lay the foundation for future stars both on and off the field,” she said.

“Participation in sports extends far beyond becoming a top-tier athlete. Children are learning essential life skills like leadership, self-confidence, resilience, and team collaboration that set them up for success in adulthood.”

When asked what inspired her to launch the non-profit, Murray shared that Count Her In was inspired by two young ladies — her own daughter, Makena, and a close family friend, Avery. Independently of each other, they both noticed significant disparities between opportunities for males vs. females in sports.

“I am not a fan of being upset about something; I would rather take action! I truly want my daughter to have the same opportunities as her brothers. Organized sports foster critical life skills like self-confidence, leadership, resilience, and team collaboration,” Murray said.

“Unfortunately, many girls drop out before adolescence because of lack of access and opportunities. Count Her In is dedicated to creating female leaders by getting and keeping more girls in sports.”

According to Murray, Count Her In plans to use the funds raised to supply necessary equipment and organize athlete and coaching clinics. The group invites the entire community to join this effort, making a meaningful impact on the lives of young female athletes and contributing to a more inclusive future for sports.

Regarding future fundraising, she said, “We are committed to planning one big event every year. Now, our team is busy connecting with local sports associations to make a positive impact. Count Her In will always accept donations at any time through cheque or e-transfer. Stay tuned for more fundraising opportunities!”

Count Her In has already made significant contributions, such as donating funds towards girls’ fast pitch in Kingsville for purchasing a pitching machine, catcher’s equipment, and other needs.

“At this time, the money raised and donated will go towards girls’ sports in five main areas – baseball, soccer, basketball, hockey, and volleyball. Our goal is to fund a coaches’ clinic for each of those sports locally,” Murray explained.

“Coaches play a pivotal role in the foundation of organized sports and the overall growth and development of our players. The goal is to arm them with the essential resources and tools from the latest research in coaching.”

The funds will focus on supporting girls between the ages of 8 to 16 years old, as participation tends to drop off before adolescence. As Murray noted, it is sometimes the case that girls don’t want to play with the boys but they are left with no other option.

Murray believes participation in sports is crucial for developing leadership qualities.

“Coaching is the foundation. If our kids can witness great leadership skills through great coaches, then it will transcend to their own development. Children show tremendous learning and development through imitation and learning from people leading by example,” she said.

“Leadership is all about teamwork and having to deal interpersonally with other people. Communication lends to great leadership skills – the best teams in sports communicate! Relationship development and connection – great leaders connect well with others! Resilience! Life isn’t about winning every single time! We need to learn to accept the challenges because that is where true learning happens.”

Count Her In’s commitment to empowering young female athletes is paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future in sports. Continued support and community involvement will ensure that every girl in Essex County has the opportunity to thrive in athletics and beyond.

Image provided by Kara Murray

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