In this 11th edition, in honour of February being Black History Month and National Girls…
As we say our goodbye to 2023, it’s with joy and gratitude that we reflect on our year filled with growth and empowering moments for our charity! 2023 was a HUGE year for our lean but mighty team as we continued forward on our mission of empowering girls through sport, physical activity and education. This journey wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of our incredible partners, selfless donors, and dedicated Role Models and volunteers. In 2023, we broke barriers, limits, ceilings, and RECORDS. This included:
- Seeing a 262% increase in our participant numbers from 2022, with our events and programs engaging over 3550 across Canada AND beyond (we had a participant join a virtual program from Switzerland!)
- A 120% increase in our program and event opportunities, with a total of 33 events and programs offered in collaboration with like-minded partners and individuals, in person and virtually.
- AND a 4.8-star rating average across all our offerings.
In chronological order, here are our Top 10 Moments of 2023:
Athleta – EmpowerHER Events
(Toronto, ON and Calgary, AB: March)
Our team was thrilled to partner with Athleta to host two workshops in-store in Calgary and Toronto. The workshops were focused on breaking the stigma of the fitting room! The workshop included writing motivational letters to themselves, a discussion on social media, power posing, and an activity centred on reclaiming the fitting room. Learn more about the workshops by reading about Leena’s experience!
F&F Youth Advisory Council Empowered Eats
March marked Nutrition Month, and in honour of this, our Youth Advisory Council came together to create Empowered Eats: A Collection of Recipes by the Fast and Female Team. Empowered Eats shares personal stories, experiences, and personal favourites’ of our YAC members and staff team members, paired alongside recipes meant to fuel all bodies. Alongside the support of our YAC members and staff team, Fast and Female also teamed up with registered dietician Emily Thorne! Emily leaves Nutritional Nuggets on each recipe that includes more information on the ingredients of our recipes. For example, “Dates are packed full of bone-friendly minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium”! Check out Empowered Eats by clicking here.
Girl Guides – The Great Cookie Trek
(Ontario and Nunavut, Virtual: April)
The Great Cookie Trek kicked off our incredible relationship with Girl Guides of Canada, Ontario Council! Over the course of the month, girls, units and adult members were challenged to track their kilometres, complete fun challenges, and learn why it’s important to be physically active and have fun! They worked towards a collective goal of 28,500 kilometres, conquered by girl and adult members of the Girl Guides. This number was chosen to represent the 28,500 members of the Girl Guides in Ontario and Nunavut. The final number of kilometres tracked was 28, 636! Learn more about the Greak Cookie Trek by clicking here. You can also view our post-event report here and our recap blog post here!
Built to Run: Women’s Running Program
(Scarborough and Toronto, ON and Victoria, BC: April to October)
Our Built to Run (BTR) Women’s Only Running program and club focused on building community through running and walking for women and gender-diverse individuals ages 18+. Participants met weekly at a designated location in their community for 60 minutes. Our Run Leads led each session, including a warm-up, a 3-5 km course that everyone does at their own pace, a cool down, snacks, and networking. Each BTR program was in preparation for a local, organized run in which Fast and Female is listed as a charity of choice! BTR occurred in three communities this year: Scarborough and Toronto, ON, and Victoria, BC! The runs we prepped for were the Scarborough 5k, the Royal Victoria Marathon, and the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Fast and Female was thrilled to be a charity of choice for all three runs. Learn more about BTR by clicking here! And make sure to check out Scarborough BTR Run Lead Mary Dube’s blog post here.
Ally Hoop and the WNBA Toronto Game
(Virtual and Toronto, ON: May)
Fast and Female was thrilled to work alongside the Toronto creative company Hard Work Club to launch Ally Hoop: The Equal Pay Mascot. The concept for Ally Hoop was developed by the incredible team at the Hard Work Club. Ally lived in an animated video where she did a mascot-style hype dance and appeared on t-shirts and other merchandise sold on our website. The campaign was supported with digital billboards, in-restaurant posters, and Influencers using #allyhoop. Ally’s launch aligned with the WNBA’s first game on Canadian soil in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena. The Fast and Female team repped Ally while cheering on the incredible women athlete – you can learn more about our WNBA experience here.
Ally made waves in the media with spokespeople Laeticia Amihere (NCAA Champion and WNBA athlete) and Janine Beckie (Canada Women’s Soccer Team athlete) sharing more on the campaign, mascot, and why Ally is important for both girls and women in sport everywhere. Learn more about Ally Hoop by checking out our blog post and webpage!
(Canmore, AB: May)
Our annual Girls Run in Canmore, AB, hosted in partnership with Rocky Mountain Soap Co’s Women’s Run, was back and bigger than ever! With updated distances, additional programming and exclusive Girls’ Run apparel, we empowered 177 participants over the 2 days. Some participants have been here since the beginning, sharing how they have collected all different colours of F&F shirts through the years, and they love coming out each time. We can’t wait to continue the cycle and see these participants make their way in the leadership positions. 15 REAL Role Models supported us: these women make such a difference in our programs. Learn more about the event by reading our recap blog post! Plus, make sure to check out Event Coordinator Laura Crack’s blog and our event photos here.
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities Play to Lead Summits
(Edmonton, AB and Toronto, ON: September and October)
The team at Fast and Female was thrilled to join Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities at their Play To Lead Summit in Edmonton, AB and Toronto, ON! Collectively, over 135 young women athletes, aged 14-18, from Alberta, Ontario and the North, came together with their coaches for a weekend of empowerment and leadership through sport. Our team had the honour of leading a workshop at each Summit on Problem Solving for the athletes, where they learned about barriers girls and women face in sport and the steps to brainstorming solutions! Shout out to all our participants for being leaders in their communities – we can’t wait to see the amazing things they’ll do 😍💜. Check out our recap reel from Edmonton here and more of our selfies from Toronto here!
OSEG Foundation and City of Ottawa – Sports Day the Girls Way
(Ottawa, ON: October)
October 10th marked our second ever Sports Day the Girls Way event, led by the OSEG Foundation in partnership with the City of Ottawa and Fast and Female! The day was filled with empowerment for 700 local Ottawa girls – this included a panel by incredible women athletes (Brianna Hennesy, Elisa DeSantis, Fabienne Blizzard, and Mandy Budjol) and a keynote by PWHL player Jamie-Lee Rattray. Check out our Instagram Reel recap with Jamie-Lee, in honor of International Day of the Girl, and all our event photos! And don’t miss out on this amazing video of the event by the OSEG Foundation.
Silver Gummy Removing Barriers Program
(Virtual, Toronto, ON and Oshawa, ON: October – November)
2023 marked the final year of our three-year pilot: Removing Barriers to Keep Self-Identified Girls in Sport (RB), funded by Silver Gummy Foundation. In partnership with Canadian Women & Sport, we created joint programming to engage and retain more girls in safe, welcoming, and inclusive sport experiences. Using an intersectional framework, the two organizations develop and deliver programming that aimed to create the conditions that retain girls in sport. Programming addresses gender-based violence in two key ways:
- Within sport: Girls and their sport leaders will be provided with information and resources that enhance their understanding of gender-based violence in sport and how to prevent and address it;
- Through sport: Girls and their sport leaders will be provided with an experience and training that improves the retention of girls in sport throughout adolescence. This enables girls to access the benefits of sport—confidence, self-esteem, sense of social belonging and resilience—which enhance their life-long well-being and act as protective factors against gender-based violence.
For 2023, our RB Program was hosted for the first time in person in Toronto, ON at the MLSE Launchpad and Oshawa, ON at the Boys and Girls Club of Durham! We also offered a Virtual Option for participants across Canada (and beyond!). You can learn more about the RB Program by visiting this webpage and by checking out this Facilitator Spotlight, by Brittney Gibbs – RRM and Toronto facilitator.
Dr. Sandip Lalli Legacy Summit
(Okotoks, AB: October)
Thanks to the support of friends, family, and colleagues, the first-ever Dr. Sandip Lalli Legacy Summit was hosted on October 22, 2023 in Okotoks, AB. Empowered by Fast and Female and Canadian Women & Sport, alongside an incredible group of volunteers, the Legacy Summit brought together close to 70 young women athletes aged 10 – 14 for a day of empowerment through sport. The event included three small group sessions led by amazing women in sport: two athletes from the PWHPA, Laura Dostaler and Leah Bohlken, and mental performance coach Georgia Ens. Fast and Female supported the delivery of the Legacy Summit by delivering a workshop on the Power of Positive Thinking. The 40-minute workshop focused on changing your mindset and the connection of mind, heart, and body.
At the end of the event, Fast and Female was presented with a cheque for a donation of $23,400 on behalf of the Dr Sandip Lalli GoFundMe. Dr Lalli’s husband, daughter, and extended family were at the event to present the cheque. Fast and Female is deeply appreciative to have played a role in honouring the legacy of Dr. Sandip Lalli, a passionate advocate for girls and women in sport! Learn more at Dr. Sandip Lalli’s legacy by clicking here. You can read more about the event by visiting the webpage and event recap blog post.
A tremendous thank you to our community for supporting us through 2023! We could not have done this without you. We are so excited at what’s to come for 2024. Stay tuned for more!