Sparwood girls will be slamming on their skateboards at weekly Skate Like a Girl sessions held by Youth Action Sparwood (YAS).
Geared towards all experience levels, the sessions encourage young females to empower themselves, make friends, and build confidence through sport.
“(The program) provides girls with a welcoming, supportive and encouraging environment within the sport of skateboarding,” said community services assistant, Jacquie Hill.
“The facilitator will tailor the program to the girl’s skills and interests and encourage peer mentoring to help them feel comfortable and confident going to the skatepark on their own.”
The sessions will be instructed by local skater, Layne Leskosek, who will teach the girls foundation skills ranging from park etiquette and skatepark flow, to pushing on a board, kick turns, and dropping in.
“It makes a big difference getting over the initial fear that they’re not welcome at the skatepark,” said Leskosek.
“My biggest thing is that I want girls to feel comfortable going to the skatepark by themselves, trusting that they know what they are doing, they know how to be safe, and that they feel confident enough to go and make friends.”
The program caters to all teen girls, with a focus on those not already involved in organized sport or anyone preferring individual activities that still offer social support.
YAS community programmer Joni Laberge said “compared to boys, the stats for girls staying active for life aren’t where they should be yet.”
“By creating girl-specific programs we are making their lifelong wellbeing and enjoyment of this sport a priority. We care about all genders and encourage all youth to participate in skateboarding.”
The sessions will run on Monday nights for three weeks, starting Sept. 21.
Hosted at the Sparwood Skatepark, participants will be divided into groups of eight based on age, with grade five and six girls skating from 3:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., and grades seven, eight and nine from 4:45 p.m. until 5:45 p.m.
YAS hopes to offer the program again this upcoming spring.
Social distancing while socializing will be encouraged throughout the events. Limiting barriers to sport, participants without skateboards are also able to borrow equipment from the YAS.
For more information on upcoming events, visit YAS’s Facebook page.