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July 11, 2018

Fast and Female Champ Chat, Orillia, ON - Inspiring a passion for a lifetime of sport

Connecting.  Belonging.  Inspiring.

These are the words that came to mind while experiencing a Fast and Female Champ Chat event first-hand at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Orillia, Ontario.  I had the honour of watching over 70 young girls aged 8 - 18 years hang out with twelve Fast and Female Ambassadors - twelve women who are accomplished athletes in a variety of sports.  While this was chance for the girls to chat with successful female athletes they also played, talked, and got to know each other for over four hours.  The afternoon event was packed with games, dancing, yoga practice, snacks, and the sharing of athletes' inspirational sport stories including an interactive Q&A. 

It takes a village

For Event Coordinator and Fast and Female Ambassador Soren Meeuwisse - a Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team racer- experiencing the sold-out event was truly fulfilling for her.  A lot of behind-the-scenes planning and preparation happens in the months prior to every Champ Chat event and this was certainly the case for Soren and her team of Athlete Ambassadors.  Many of the athlete ambassadors, including Soren, were scheduled to race in the next day's Canada Cup/Ontario Cup Mountain Bike Event also happening at Hardwood Ski and Bike and were taking time out of their race preparations to be at this event.  Their commitment to being strong role models to the young girls attending was clear to see.  The girls themselves understood the energy and effort athletes brought to the day and showed their appreciation through their enthusiasm, laughs, game participation, yoga moves, dance moves and the number of questions they asked. 

This Fast and Female Champ Chat event did a fantastic job of giving girls and elite athletes a chance to make critical connections around sport.  These connections go a long way to building a strong sense of belonging and confidence that are vital to helping young girls and teens live, play and stay in sport for life.

Athlete Ambassadors at the Champ Chat, Orillia, ON

Haley Smith – Mountain Biking

Katelyn Ayers – Track / Cross-Country Running

Jessica Tudos – Gymnastics

Zoe Mackintosh – Volleyball

Jenn Jackson – Mountain Biking / Cross-Country Skiing

Tess Wortley – Cross-Country Skiing

Erica Leonard – Mountain Biking / Road Cycling

Ruby West - Mountain Biking / Cyclocross 

Sarah Fabbro – Mountain Biking

Sidney McGill – Mountain Biking

Laurie Arsenault – Mountain Biking

Soren Meeuwisse – Mountain Biking

Fast and Female - In their own words

Their story

"Fast and Female, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2005 by a young ski racer from Canmore, Alberta, Canada named Chandra Crawford, and led in the US by Kikkan Randall, is a story about three girls who influenced a movement.

At the age of ten, Emily 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. 4x 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.

Thanks to these three influencers, an organization was born that would change the culture around girls in sports, and pursue a mission of keeping girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models."

Their vision

“A positive, empowering environment for girls in sport.”

Their mission

"Keep girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens."

(Source:  www.fastandfemale.com)

Athlete Gallery - Fabulous Fast and Female fun


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