Only 8% of girls meet the recommended daily amount of physical activity. This drops to 2% of 12-17 year olds. The gender disparity in sport and recreational physical activity is stark, with statistics showing that if a girl does not participate by age 10 there is only a 10% chance she will be physically active at age 25.
These might seem like questions that are difficult to answer, but with intentional programming and positive environments that are tailored to the needs of girls and young women we can begin to address these issues.
For example, understanding the differences in the ways people first engage in environments and experiences can influence their participation rate during a program. Knowing that girls typically first look to acceptance within a group setting is critical. In summer camps, we work together to get to know the group, what their interests are and how we can work together to create a week that all the participants have ownership of. From this place of acceptance, effort and ‘performance’ follow, meaning that physical and mental engagement in the camp are maximized and a strong social environment is formed.
During Active Girls camp, our female leaders create programming that emphasizes fun, includes lots of variety and creates a positive environment for the participants to flourish in. The girls in the camp will be introduced to workout settings in a female friendly learning environment that creates a climate of acceptance, respect and social connection. This provides the young women the opportunity to build knowledge and confidence in a space that can be initially intimidating, surrounded by their peers and strong female role models.
This is where we start.
~Chris Wright is Physical Literacy Coordinator at PISE and proud father of a beautiful, little girl. He is in charge of all of the fabulous kids programs, summer camps, teacher mentorship and much more.