As you may have guessed from reading our blog, we are extremely passionate about girls and women in sport. We are excited and inspired by Chandra Crawford, 2006 Gold Medal winner at the Winter Olympics in Cross Country Skiing. She shares our passion for sport and is making the dreams of girls and women across our country into reality. Founded in 2005, Crawford’s not-for-profit Fast and Female (www.fastandfemale.com) will hold its first Winnipeg event on October 24, 2014 in conjunction with the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross Championships held at The Forks October 24-26. (http://www.fastandfemale.com/programs/fast-female-champ-chat-winnipeg-mb/) According to Crawford, ”we believe in the power of sport to improve self-confidence in girls. We believe in keeping girls healthy, happy and active through their teens.”
The Fast and Female Winnipeg event is intended for girls ages 9 to 19 involved in sport. The Fast and Female mantras are “spread the love” and “dominate the world”, which speak to both making the sport environment positive for girls and empowering them to unleash their full confidence and courage in anything they pursue in life.
The event will feature an evening of amazing inspiration, empowering physical activity (cycling or dryland), a fun dance, and autograph sessions with mountain bike world champion Catharine Pendrel and others. Parents and coaches are invited to attend the seminars that will address effective nutrition and sport psychology for female athletes. The event is open to individuals involved in ALL sports, and is hoping to attract up to 50 participants.
By age 14 girls are two times more likely to drop out of sports due to a lack of access to sporting opportunities, social stigma, decreased quality of experience, cost, and lack of positive role models. Chandra hopes to inspire girls across the country to stay in sport, and communities to further encourage program development for this age group.
There are specific ways to keep girls in sport. We need to change the attitudes about physical fitness. Girls need to know what it “really means” to be physically active – levels of intensity, duration etc… Also, they need to know that you don’t need to be an “athlete” to be fit. They need to learn about sports and games and rules of different sports so that they have more confidence to try different ones. Finally, it has to be challenging and interesting (keep it new and exciting) and that it’s not about being perfect but it is about having fun.
A few great examples of this happening in Winnipeg are Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing (WWK) program for girls ages 11 – 14. The kickboxing club started this program knowing that there was a lack of sporting opportunities for girls and is having great success. Another sport is synchronized swimming – a sport which both of these FitComm Girls have loved. It has introductory programs for tweens and teens. It is a great sport that encourages fitness, creativity and fun. It is never too late to join. For more information on each of these please contact WWK’s Trisha Sammons at 204-930-6780 or Synchro Swim Manitoba at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter what sport or fitness regime girls choose, it needs to be supported by friends and family. Know that not only will it increase their physical fitness and make them more apt to live a healthy adult life, but it will also improve confidence and self-esteem. These are all positives that every girl and woman should have in their lives.
Global News: www.globalnews/video
My Toba: www.mytoba/sports