Red Deer’s Collicutt Centre was overflowing with Grade 5 girls from across the City last week.
It was the ninth annual Go Girl event which involved 570 girls from 25 schools, public and Catholic.
The one-day event supports the girls’ personal growth, health, wellness and allows them to step outside their comfort zone to try an activity they might never have given a second thought.
“Maybe they were too shy to try it. Maybe they didn’t want to try it in their schools,” explained Go Girl chairperson Leah Beeton. “So we bring them to a whole different area, so they don’t have to worry, they don’t have outside things to worry about and they can just have fun and enjoy it.”
Soccer, lacrosse, rugby, wrestling, sky ball, rock climbing and cheerleading were some of the activities as well as a bit of learning about healthy eating habits. There is also a self-esteem component to the day as these girls were the big dogs in elementary school but it changes for many next year, said Beeton.
“Then they go into middle school and they’re the low man on the totem pole. So some of the girls feel more confident because they’ve met friends here that they now see in middle school.”
Eventually some of these shy girls wind up back at the event as leaders like Cassidy LeMasurier. She was at the first Go Girl day trying a number of sports, including ringette.
“I played hockey before and then figure skating and it was a different kind of feel to the game. There was no contact, it was just speed and you’ve got to pass.”
She enjoyed it so much she has stuck with it for many years and has become quite a player in her own right.
“I’ve played Double A for four years and now I’m trying out for Team Canada u-18.”
Like many others, Cassidy also forged new friendships which have lasted.
”Oh I’m still friends with them. Some of them even play ringette with me. Even some of the girls now that haven’t done it (Go Girl) are volunteering here and it’s just lots of fun.”
Beeton thinks about half of the girls will stick with a sport they discover at the event, even if it’s just for a year but her wish is for them to come to a realization.
“I would love them to see how good they are in life,” Beeton said.
“They are special, they are important to everybody. I’d love them to come away feeling good about themselves, even for one day.”