74 enthusiastic girls from Leduc County, Wetaskiwin and Edmonton met at the Thorsby Arctic Spas Recreation Centre on April 18 for the sixth annual Get Up & Go Girl workshop. This one-day program promotes physical and emotional wellness for girls ages seven to seventeen.
According to Thorsby Parks and Recreation Coordinator, Kelly Probe, the event was made possible by a grant from the non-profit organization InMotion Network that promotes physical activity for girls and women in Alberta. “The actual cost is $75 to $80 per girl,” said Probe, “but we only charge $30 thanks to that grant, along with community donations, sponsors and volunteers.”
Community Development Coordinator for Leduc County, Andrea Oneski said the reputation for the program is now carrying itself. She is seeing many girls returning and lots of increased volunteer hours. “Go Girl has evolved so that volunteer instructors are now coming forward (on their own).”
During the morning sessions, the girls took part in three different sports activities.
Certified Personal Trainer with Thorsby Community Fit, Lisa Green, taught kickboxing to pairs of girls in the dance studio with assistance from Leduc County Parks and Rec staff member Nicole Harrish. At the end of the session, pairs of girls were invited to showcase their jab, jab cross, and knee jab combinations before the kickboxing group. The girls were clearly proud of their newly learned skills.
Former Devon resident Kevin Kyle—owner of Edmonton based Fitness-Together Academy of Basketball—taught the sport’s broader points and led the girls in a final spirited elimination game of Shark Attack. For the past 10 years, Kyle has been teaching special programs throughout the Edmonton area, including five years with the Leduc Academy of Basketball. Kyle specializes in “developing the physical, mental and emotional skills so important in the game of baseball and its correlation through life’s journey” and was praised for his “great enthusiasm and energy.”
The frisbee session was conducted by Ultimate Frisbee of Edmonton and taught by General Manager Dani Dugan, Juniors’ Coordinator Chris Reid, and Coach Jen Glumpak. This is the second time Ultimate Frisbee has taught a Go Girl frisbee session. The emphasis in beginner frisbee is more on the recreational and social experience than on athleticism and point scoring, making it a perfect starting place for those who wish to get fit.
Following a luncheon which featured a lovely touch of table decor in spring colours, the keynote speaker Tania O’Neill with Calgary-based GirlPower addressed keeping and maintaining good friendships with the girls. Oneski, described it as, “small person conflict resolution.”
The wind up included a mega zoomba dance session.
Treats are always eagerly anticipated and the girls were not disappointed. “We have had amazing support,” Oneski said. “Thanks to our community and business sponsors, every girl goes home with a door prize.” The girls also received free goodie bags, or “swag bags” as they are better known at Go Girl, that contain a pair of sunglasses, silly putty, and Buffs. If you are not quite up to date with hip jargon, have no fear. Buffs are headbands that can be worn many ways—as a hairband, do rag, face mask, sahariane, etc.. Here’s an interesting factoid: the same company that makes Buffs for the “Survivor” TV series custom made the Go Girl event Buffs. As you can imagine, Get Up & Go Girl is an empowering, fun-filled event. Girls are already looking forward to next year’s Go Girl.
Oneski said Get Up & Go Girl was originally introduced because so many sports programs were geared towards boys that they felt girls in the County needed something too. A new program, similar to Get Up & Go Girl, has been developed for boys. “Good Guys” promotes fitness and respect—not only for friends, but family and others as well. This program may one day be brought to Leduc County.