“It was a busy day, jam packed with activities, and all the feedback we received from the girls was highly positive,” said Jones – a member of the Nakkertok Ski Club and Canadian Cross-Country National Team who was hosting her second annual event in the Ottawa region.
“It’s inspiring for the girls, and also for Tory and me to see over a hundred young ladies so excited about sport,” added Jones who just finished her most successful World Cup cross-country racing season.
The enthusiastic group of young participants – ranging in age from 9 to 16 years old and hailing from the Ottawa region and beyond – took part in a fun-filled morning of dragon boating, Quiddich and healthy smoothie making.
At lunch, the girls attended an inspirational presentation by Jones and Tuttle who shared their wisdom on the ups and downs of being a female athlete. In addition, members of the Canadian National Canoe/Kayak Team recounted their Olympic experiences, fielding a variety of questions from the audience.
In the afternoon, participants enjoyed more lively games as well as a pep talk by cross-country ski coach Pavlina Sudrich. The girls concluded their day with yoga followed by autograph and photo sessions.
Unlike typical Fast and Female events focused on a specific sport, the 2011 Ottawa Fast and Female event presented by Best Buy brought together female athletes from the cross-country skiing and paddling communities.
This year, Jones – who has been involved as a volunteer with the program since 2005 – invited first-time ambassador Tuttle to join in the fun. Tuttle, an Ottawa resident and female Kayaker who took part in a variety of international competitions before recently retiring, is a volunteer coach at the Rideau Canoe Club and has the opportunity to work with young athletes on a regular basis.
“The amount of laughter and positive energy throughout the event was phenomenal,” expressed Tuttle. “It was an amazing day, from all the smiles and sparkles to the beautiful weather and enthusiasm; everyone had a great time. The event definitely surpassed my expectations and surprised me in really positive ways. I am so excited about the bright futures ahead for all of the fantastic girls who participated,” she concluded.
As a complement to the youth programming, parents of female athletes were also invited to join the event for the “Amazing Tips Seminar”.
Parents had the opportunity to discuss Parenting the Female Athlete with Sue Holloway and were treated to an informative presentation on Nutrition from Sheila Kealey. Not to be outdone in the activity department by their children, the adults participated in yoga and had the opportunity for a run along the Rideau River or partake in an introduction to Sprint Kayaking with Sue Holloway. Holloway is the first woman and first Canadian to have competed in both Summer and Winter Games in the same year having taken part in the 1976 Winter Olympics in cross-country skiing and 1976 Summer Olympics in canoe sprint.
All youth event participants went back home with a goody bag with a Fast and Female t-shirt, a Buff as well as product samples from CLARINS and COLD-FX.
The activity was made possible thanks to more than 20 valuable group leaders and volunteers as well as local partners such as the Rideau Canoe Club, GLOBO Shoes, the Nakkertok Ski Club, Cross-Country Ontario, Trailhead and photographer Marlys Symington. Fast and Female’s national sponsors – including Best Buy, Buff Multifunctional Headwear, Clarins and Cold-FX – also provided key resources to make this event possible. For a complete list of Fast and Female national program supporters and sponsors, please visit: /default.asp?lang=&mode=webpage&id=89.
As a non-profit and national program started in 2005 by cross-country skiing gold Olympic medallist Chandra Crawford, Fast and Female is intensely focused on delivering effective programming to keep girls in sports. It is said that girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys. So far in 2011, Fast and Female has hosted a total of 9 events and reached 990 girls.