Dear Fast and Female Community,
“Sport can catalyze and sustain community belonging among youth.”
-MLSE Foundation, Change the Game 2.0: Change the Culture, Change the Game, (October 2022).
In Canada, we are within sight of a changing landscape for women in sport – but somehow, youth, like me, are still getting left behind…
My name is Katie Bentley and my pronouns are she/her. I live on the unceded traditional lands of the Lekwungen, Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples in Victoria, BC. For over a year, I have been a member of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for Fast and Female. I joined the YAC because of my passion for being active and reducing the inequalities that exist for women and girls in sport. Sport has completely changed my life and I hope to help girls experience the joy, friendships, and growth that I have through sport. Since I joined YAC in October 2021, I have assisted in program and fund development and attended multiple virtual events. Reading the young girls say that their confidence was so much higher after the event touched my heart, and I love being a part of an organization that empowers young women athletes.
A recent study showed that 82% of youth reported not having anyone they feel they can talk to about experiences with racism or discrimination in sport. It saddens me to know that there are other youth across Canada who do not feel supported or have the tools to share about their experiences the ways I have been empowered to, through my work here at F&F: Supporting Women In Sport Foundation.
I am writing to you, today, to ask you to please join me in supporting Fast and Female this #GIVINGTUESDAY and help more youth join our team! We are the ONLY national girls’ charity of our kind with unique programs to keep self-identified girls moving in organized play and empowered everyday.
Given the uncertainty of the last few years, I’ve been finding myself reflecting a lot on how the pandemic has affected who I am and other youth, just like me. I recently read that 60% of youth without access to sport report deteriorating mental health and rate it lower now than before the pandemic, in comparison with 40% of youth who have been able to play a sport within the past year. This highlights the importance of organized play and positive sport experiences as a preventative intervention.
I feel so fortunate to be a part of an organization like Fast and Female that helps foster a brave space for me and builds my confidence through leadership, teamwork and resiliency skills. Our programming, events and initiatives strive to inspire girls to dream big and build the next generation of confident young women athletes who can succeed in all aspects of their lives!
Fast and Female is a Canadian charity on a mission to keep self-identified girls aged 8-14 healthy and active in sports. Founded in 2005, Fast and Female believes in the power of positive sport experiences and role models to give girls leadership, teamwork and resiliency skills
DONATE to our #GivingTuesday campaign. Every single donation made goes directly towards helping to create spaces for girls and youth, like me, to build skills that help us to not only win in sports, but win in life!