SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Game On! Sports 4 Girls – Northern Utah branch is less than a year old and already achieving its mission to empower, inspire, and teach girls through sports. The Utah branch has ties to Chicago, where Barb Lazarus founded the company 16 years ago to combat the lack of opportunities for girls to play sports.
Elyssa Brock joined Game On! Sports 4 Girls in 2018 as the Director of Business Development. Brock witnessed first-hand the power of girls supporting girls and was inspired to launch the Northern Utah-based division.
“I saw the beauty of the company and wanted to expand it outside of Illinois. We decided to create a licensee model that allowed us to bring Game On! to even more places, including Utah,” Brock said.
In January 2022, Brock became the licensee owner of the Northern Utah-based Game On! Sports 4 Girls. The inaugural summer camp season wrapped up on August 12. Two of the three weeks of camp sold out, and she’s already looking ahead to next summer in anticipation of growing the program and empowering more girls.
Brock’s lifelong experiences as a female athlete prepared her to encourage girls through sports.
“My whole life has been spent leading up to empowering girls through sports,” she said, “As a young girl… I tried every sport you could think of, soccer, basketball, skateboarding, skiing, tennis, lacrosse, snowboarding, volleyball, track and field, baseball, swimming, ping pong, football, and the list keeps going!”
Brock played soccer, basketball, and tennis throughout high school and continued to play soccer for the club team at the University of Vermont in college. Playing sports throughout her youth, she encountered and combatted stereotypes by demonstrating her capabilities as a female athlete and inspiring others to do the same.
“I remember being told on numerous occasions that I needed to be more careful because I was a girl or that I needed to slow down or that I threw like a boy, not like a girl, but it never stopped me. It only fueled me,” said Brock, “From a young age, I was showing and telling others that girls can do anything and that they can be anything. They can wear a dress, get their knees dirty, and ride a skateboard if that’s what they want!”
Fresh out of college, Brock worked for a G-League and an NBA team. “I saw lots of sexism in the sports industry, which encouraged me even more to empower the next generation of girls through sports,” she said.
By launching Game On! Sports 4 Girls – Northern Utah, she intends to motivate her students by demonstrating and teaching them how to believe in themselves inside and out, embrace their strengths, and utilize sports as a source of happiness.
Already in 8 months, Brock’s seen her vision in action. “The most rewarding moments have been watching these girls grow in just a week,” said Brock, “They learn what it means to be on a team, problem solve on their own, stand up for themselves and for each other (Girls Supporting Girls), not tolerate bullying, work harder than they knew they could, try new things, make new friends, and just so much more!”
Now Brock’s shifting her focus to the school year programs, which are six to eight week courses for girls in kindergarten through fourth grade. “The classes introduce the girls to a new sport each week with lots of fun games and activities to keep them active and growing GirlStrong,” she said.
Brock acknowledges that Game On! Sports 4 Girls – Northern Utah’s first season’s success is in part due to the folks of Park City. “Park City is a community of people that continue to want to try new things and push themselves hard. I feel very lucky to be able to work with the girls in this community and learn from them as well,” she said.