Girls from seven Nottingham City schools have taken part in a girls’ leadership event to build confidence and enable them to inspire younger girls in their schools to be more active.
Girls were selected to take part from Nottingham Free School, Djanogly City Academy, NUAST, Nottingham Academy, Bluecoat Wollaton Academy, The Trinity Catholic School and Nottingham Girls Academy.
Schools were asked to consider selecting some of their less active girls from Year 9 and Year 10 to bring to the event, with the aim of being able to relate to the girls they plan to work with back in school. Each school brought a group of between four and six girls.
The event was held at Harvey Hadden Sports Centre in Nottingham, and included a series of practical and theory workshops to prepare the girls to return to school and set up and run activity sessions for targeted less active Year 7 girls.
Organised by School Sport Nottingham, School Sport and Physical Activity Manager Nick Robb asked Active Notts to support the event as it targeted a cohort of girls who were less active that he usually worked with and he recognised that a different approach was needed. Youth Sport Trust and Nottingham City Council were then approached, both having a shared purpose around empowering girls bringing about a collaborative effort in the organisation and delivery of the event.
The day started with a fun warm up led by ambassador Charmaine Daley to help break the ice and get the girls moving. Charmaine, This Girl Can Workforce Development Officer, has worked on the This Girl Can Nottingham programme and Girls Active previously so is experienced in engaging with teenage girls and delivering dance-based activities. Feedback from previous events has shown that Charmaine is someone that girls really engage with and identify with.
Workshops were then led by athlete mentor Jade Windley and Mandy Newbold from the Youth Sport Trust. Both Jade and Mandy are experienced deliverers of workshops through the Girls Active programme.
The girls were asked to think about the barriers and the motivations to being active before considering how to create the right environment and how to design and modify activities for a range of participants. This included the use of the STEP model (space, task, equipment or people) where the space, task, equipment or people for a chosen activity can be changed to make it easier or more challenging and to ensure that sessions are inclusive.
As part of the day a session for teachers was also delivered by Katy Rogers from the Youth Sport Trust, which gave the teachers the chance to share their experiences and discuss attitudes to PE and some of the barriers to being active which girls may experience.
The girls have now begun planning what activities they will deliver back in their schools.
As schools arrived each girl was given a branded hoody and was asked to rate how confident they felt about becoming a leader on a scale of one to ten. At the end of the event they were asked the same question, and all the girls fed back that they felt more confident to become a leader following the session. They were also asked what they had enjoyed most about the day – answers included meeting other people, the freedom to learn and try new activities, the hoodies, and the dancing and game making.
The girls also became visibly more confident as the session progressed. At the end of the morning each girl was given two pin badges which they all immediately put on – with some of the girls commenting on how proud of themselves they felt.