Did you know that girls quit sports at 6 x the rate of boys? I didn’t. Not until I got involved with Fast and Female, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2005 by Olympic Gold Medalist and Canmore native, Chandra Crawford. The organization aims to change the culture for girls in sport and to keep girls happy, healthy, and active in sport through their teens.
The vision for Fast and Female is, “A positive, empowering culture for girls in sport.”
When girls quit sports, they lose out on opportunities to develop life skills that build confidence and empower them for life. Fast and Female believes that when coaches and parents are more supportive, girls feel less pressure to perform, and teammates learn the skills to get along…the sport culture will be FUN, positive, and empowering – and girls won’t feel the need to quit.
When asked what motivates her, Chandra is quick to exclaim,
“I’m totally focused on changing the culture for girls in sports to be more positive and so they don’t quit and miss out on the resilience-building benefits of sport participation. This is not just my passion or purpose in life… it’s my destiny!”
At Fast and Female events, participants ages 8-18 meet inspiring elite female athletes and Olympians (ambassadors); make friends and connections, and learn strategies to overcome barriers to continued participation in sport.
As a former National Team athlete, I think I had always known that barriers existed for girls in sport, but no one really talked about it. Things like girls bullying girls, problematic body image ideals, the pressure to specialize, overtraining, eating disorders, anxiety, and social pressures are all major concerns for girls (and parents of girls) participating in sport. Fast and Female addresses those issues and has had a big impact on the way I think about female participation in sport altogether.
One of the things I have learned during my time at Fast and Female is that role models come in all shapes and sizes and that they are a major factor in motivating girls to dream big and be bold. Whether it’s a mother, big sister, teacher, astronaut, or athlete, a strong female role model can make a profound and lasting impression on a young girl.
Though she never tires of changing culture and promoting positivity, Chandra recently found a little more motivation in a source that hits close to home. When asked how motherhood has changed her outlook at Fast and Female, she replied, “Pardon the expletive, but now that I have a daughter, s**t just got extra real for me and I want so badly for her to have positive sport experiences!” By educating, raising awareness, and changing the culture for girls in sport, Fast and Female is committed to making the sport experience more positive for girls, coaches, and parents alike.
The team works tirelessly to connect thousands of girls across North America with elite female athlete role models, and Chandra remains a strong role model in and out of sport to so many women and girls – including me!
If you’re looking for an inspiring event for a girl you know and love, check out our schedule of upcoming events:
Photo credit “Dave Holland, CSI Calgary”