Keeping Girls Healthy, Happy and Active in Sports

Keeping Girls Healthy, Happy and Active in Sports

GNS is excited to announce that on Friday, May 17, from 9 to 12:30 p.m., the school will partner with Fast & Female to host a Champ Chat for students in Greater Victoria aged 8 to 18 who are female or who identify as female. Olympians and elite and varsity Athletes from around BC will lead fitness stations and host inspirational chats and Q&As that will allow participants to enjoy rewarding, face-to-face interactions with female role models. Fast & Female was created to change the culture around girls in sports, and to pursue a mission of keeping girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models.

Fast & Female is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2005 by Chandra Crawford, Olympic Gold Medalist. She was motivated by interactions with three girls:

  • At the age of ten, Emily Harris—the Out of School Program Manager GNS—told her babysitter, Chandra, that she wasn't happy being a girl because girls don't get to do fun things like skateboarding and instead have to worry about their appearance all the time. We must change the culture around girls in sports.
  • When Chandra's younger sister Rosanna was a teenager, the alternative to spending weekends at ski races was the unhealthy and risk-laden party scene you'd find in any small town. The value of sport for teens is crystal clear.
  • 4-time Olympian Sara Renner gave great advice like, "I eat to be strong, not to be skinny," and encouraged Chandra to dream big and try for the Olympics. There is so much power in inspirational role models.

According to a 2011 study by Dr. Eystein Enoksen, girls drop out of sports in their early teens at six times the rate of boys, and the top reason for their withdrawal is the lack of social belonging. Fast & Female's vision is to create "A positive, empowering environment for girls in sport." When coaches are more supportive, parents lay off the pressure, and teammates learn the skills to get along, the sport environment will be FUN, positive and empowering, and girls will be motivated to stick with their activities.

In recent years there has been growing concern in Canada about how girls and women are trailing their male counterparts in all realms of Canadian sport. Here are some reported stats:

  • 41% of girls aged 3 to 17 don't participate in sport. (CAAWS, 2016)
  • If a girl does not participate in sport by age 10, there is only a 10% chance she will be active later in life. (CAAWS, 2016)
  • 75% of teenage girls do not reach the minimum level of daily physical activity recommended by the WHO. (Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2017)

Since 2008, Chandra, and her American counterpart, Kikkan Randall, have partnered with more than 250 athlete ambassadors and sports experts to reach 3,000 girls annually.

As the Out of School Program Manager and volleyball coach at Glenlyon Norfolk School, Emily sees hosting a Champ Chat at GNS as an opportunity to pass on the impact Fast & Female had on her and to help spread their mission in the Greater Victoria community.

Emily is keen to enhance all aspects of our Out of School Programs and will be soliciting advice from colleagues and parents to help ensure the programs offered are engaging, interesting and of the highest quality. As a co-ed school we are also looking to partner with meaningful and appropriate organizations to host similar events geared toward our male students and as gender-neutral opportunities. If you have suggestions about a program, event or organization the school might consider, please contact Emily at eharris@mygns.ca.

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