On Saturday, Feb. 16, 120 girls, ranging from age eight to 14 in the Greater Hartford area, came to celebrate National Girls in Sports Day in the Hoffman Field House from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.. KO’s coaches and student athletes hosted and organized the event.
Director of Athletics Debbie Fiske said that this was KO’s second annual event celebrating women in athletics and that there were 24 KO coaches and 65 student athletes involved in organizing the program. “It’s a celebration of our own coaches and student athletes as well as girls in athletics in general,” Ms. Fiske said.
Ms. Fiske said that there were three 40-minute sports sessions, where athletes could participate in various sports from basketball to indoor track, followed by a 45-minute team building challenge, lunch, and poster making.
Ms. Fiske said that the goal for those session clinics is to expose girls to sports that they might not have tried.
“We want to inspire them in pursuing sports while paying close attention to health and wellness,” she said.
“The challenges in the team- building session such as ‘cross the river’ are lead by KO Athletes, and I think that session, along with the poster making, really demonstrate the KO spirit and girl power.”
Senior and girls varsity basketball player Jane Dunbar said that she enjoyed helping with the registration of the event and the drills in the basketball sessions. “The highlight for me was having little girls come up to me and be in awe with my participation in a varsity sport,” Jane said, “I think it’s a great opportunity for girls to come and participate in clinics for sports, trying new sports and seeing other high school female athletes.”
Jane said that she found it fulfilling to inspire young athletes. “I enjoyed being a role model for the younger kids, and my teammates and I had a lot of fun,” she said. “We gave a lot of advice, and the bonding of the team was really good.”
History teacher and Head Coach of girls cross country and track and field Tricia Watson, said that there were over 50 girls in the program and that she enjoyed playing an active role in supporting the girls in sports through managing the track and field session.
“The goal is to maintain the high level of energy, and the smiles and laughter in the room, while encouraging people to participate in sports,” Ms. Watson said.
Senior Mia Seymour, who is the captain of varsity field hockey and lacrosse and a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC), She said that the event was very important to her.
She said that she helped out with planning the event and registration and check-ins, as well as various competitions on the day of the event.
“I really enjoyed helping out,” Mia said. “A particular highlight of my day was eating lunch with the girls because I got to hear how much they loved the program and how excited they are for their upcoming sports season.”
Mia said that the event provided an open and welcoming space for young girls to try out new sports and ultimately embrace their athleticism.
“It can be daunting to start a sport, ask for help, or even meet other new people,” she said, “but this program creates an environment that strips away any intimidation and instead encourages fearlessness, which is especially important for young girls.”
Mia said that both the participants and the athletic leaders can grow and benefit from the connections that they have made through this experience.
“The young girls really look up to the high school leaders and form connections during the day,” Mia said. “Girls in Sports Day is an incredibly fulfilling opportunity for both the participants and high school leaders alike. It is something that I hope becomes a permanent event for the community!”