Program encourages young Calgarians to try new activities and learn about personal health

Go Girl is an annual one-day event for girls aged 10 to16 with the goal of exposing them to new forms of physical activity while educating them on aspects of personal wellness.

 Activities such as zumba, skating and synchronized swimming are explored and subjects concerning wellness, such as confidence and motivation, are discussed.

According to a survey of the 2009 Go Girl participants, 91 per cent of girls made a new friend, 76 per cent learned about being healthy and 88 per cent picked up new ideas on how to be active from the program.

Ten-year-old participant from last year, Grace Schuck, agrees with these findings.GoGirl participants gather in a semi-circle and make new friends.

Photo courtesy of: City of Calgary

With enthusiasm in her voice, Schuck spoke confidently and genuinely about the program, and plans to attend again this year.

She said she saw a change in her peers over the span of their day at Go Girl. She remembers that even though some participants were shy at first, by the end of the day everyone had new friends and left Go Girl “feeling good about themselves.”

“This is a great opportunity for young girls to expose themselves to lifelong activities that will benefit them for years to come.” – Michelle Tait

Former volunteer and community social worker Jody Forbes sees that not only the girls benefit from attending Go Girl, but the volunteers do as well.

Forbes says that as a volunteer you get the chance to meet an amazing, energetic group of girls, and have the privilege of sharing the day’s activities with them.

As a volunteer, Forbes was also able to see a change in the participants throughout the day.

She says that the girls’ sense of confidence is boosted, and that gain in confidence transfers into a belief in their ability to participate. The girls also begin to better understand their own health, and the importance of staying active, she says.

The girls gather in the gym to try out volleyball.

Photo courtesy of: City of CalgaryOnce the day is over, girls will leave with resources such as pamphlets and other handouts to help them continue participating in activities they enjoyed.

Michelle Tait, a recreation program specialist and chair for Go Girl this year commented on the program through email.

“This is a great opportunity for young girls to expose themselves to lifelong activities that will benefit them for years to come. Go Girl is a great way to meet new friends, learn new skills, gain confidence and be a part of a great program at a minimal cost.”

Go Girl will take place on Nov. 12 and will be held in four different locations this year, including Cardel Place, Southland Leisure Centre, Village Square Leisure Centre and Westside Recreation Centre. The cost is $15 per person, registration ends on Nov. 7. For more information about signing up and volunteering visit www.calgary.ca/recreation.

Note: Times and ages for participants varies at each location.

dleonard@cjournal.ca