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Role Models: The R.E.A.L Deal

The recently published Rally Report from Canadian Women & Sport and Jumpstart emphasizes the importance of role models for keeping girls in sports. Role Models are at the core of how Fast and Female aims to keep girls healthy and active in sports. We deliver empowering programs that give all girls the role models and skills they need to succeed in sports and life.

You may have noticed a little (okay, a pretty big) change from us … we’ve started using the phrase “R.E.A.L Role Models” a little more and “Ambassadors” a little less. R.E.A.L stands for Relatable Empowered Active Leaders and it’s a term that we’re phasing in, as we start to retire the “Ambassador” name.

But why? Thanks to research from the University of Toronto’s Dr. Catherine Sabiston, the University of Ottawa’s Dr. Diane Culver, and their respective graduate students and labs, we received reports on Fast and Female’s program impact and program evaluation. We’re getting to work on implementing recommendations and findings to continue improving and designing programming through an evidence-based lens, and that starts with our commitment to role models and maximum impact for girls!

Here are some KEY takeaways from the research:

  • Literature supports the use of relatable role models, as participants will be more likely to learn from individuals who are similar to them. (University of Toronto).
  • Participants found that hearing relatable stories from Olympians helped them foresee reaching lofty goals in their own futures (University of Ottawa)
  • Participants noted that seeing a variety of possible careers in sport, showcased in the
    ambassador panel, would be helpful to show girls more examples of what is possible
    for them (University of Ottawa)
  • Role models that demonstrate leadership qualities help participants view themselves as potential leaders. (University of Toronto)
  • Instead of simply increasing female sport role models, it is important to focus on selecting a diverse representation of authentic role models. Girls do not necessarily need female sport role models to be inspired or motivated, and influential personalities may instead come from families, local clubs, or school environments. (University of Toronto)

Fast and Female R.E.A.L Role Models are inspiring, empowering leaders and we’re grateful to have them on our team. We’re excited to continue growing together to create the powerful role model connections that keep girls healthy and active in sports! They are the reason this organization continues to thrive and expand. From Olympic and Paralympic medalists to firefighters, teachers, and community leaders, these inspiring volunteers give thousands of hours annually, helping to continue the cycles of leadership created by Fast and Female. In addition to empowering girls, Fast and Female R.E.A.L Role Models also empower each other! The athletes and active leaders who work with us form their own supportive network of peers and make high-powered friendships that provide benefits in far-reaching ways beyond the programs we deliver.

We are actively recruiting for the R.E.A.L Role Model Program. If you have someone in your life (teammate, co-worker, friend, family member, coach) who would be awesome, encourage them to apply! We are especially committed to more representation of Black women, Indigenous women, and women who identify as racialized and/or are part of a marginalized community.

Fast and Female simply could not exist without the dedication of volunteers like our R.E.A.L Role Models who believe in our mission and generously contribute to our programs. Thank you to our Role Model team for your leadership and inspiration!