Story posted February 14, 2011
Girls and Women in Sports Day is an annual event where female student-athletes from Bowdoin introduce local elementary, middle, and high school girls to a wide variety of sports. The event takes place at Farley Field House on the Bowdoin College campus, where local girls are welcomed by the polar bear mascot and dozens of friendly, female-athletes from the field hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, rugby, softball, and lacrosse teams. After a brief warm-up and ice-breaker, the girls are split into eight smaller groups according to their age and grade level. Then, the groups rotate from station to station in 12-15 minute intervals.
This year, the event attracted over 140 girls from the Midcoast area. The most popular stations was the rugby station. One parent noted, "The girls had a GREAT time! When asked which one they liked best, it was pretty unanimous, "the one where we got to tackle!!" Another participant revealed her enthusiasm about the rugby station. "Mom – we got to chase the teachers, AND they lifted us up!!!" Many of the girls had tried basketball or soccer before, but very few of them had ever been given the opportunity to try rugby, or cradle a lacrosse ball, or spike a volleyball. The student-athletes from Bowdoin were especially helpful in encouraging the girls to try new skills - gathering the girls at end of each station a cheer, "Soccer rocks!" and "Polar bears for life!"
Jill Henrikson, a junior on the Bowdoin basketball team and Girls and Women in Sports Day volunteer noted, "Participating in Girls and Women's and Sports Day exemplifies one of the many reasons why athletics at Bowdoin are not just about playing the sport. They are also about representing the Bowdoin community--being leaders and role models for the young girls who will someday acquire the life skills that Bowdoin athletics have taught me. Teaching a fourth grader who you see at many of your home games how to shoot a layup is not just about whether the ball goes in on the first try, but about the grit and determination it takes to finally perfect the layup. Even though the girls may not realize it now, this is the same grit and determination that they are going to put into life outside of athletics in years to come."
Girls and Women in Sports Day would not have been able to grow over the past few years without the enthusiasm and support of student-athletes like Jill. The Bowdoin and Brunswick communities deeply value the event, and with the support of the Bowdoin Athletic Department, it will continue to expose local girls to the world of sports for many years to come!