All of the 80 girls in the U-16 division were divided into five different groups that then rotated through stations, each focused on a different skill. Each station provided the opportunity for girls to enhance their game, with sessions on topics such as decision making and defensive positioning. These stations were coached by the U-16 girls’ coaches, with GUM’s National Girls Outreach Director, Heather Ann Brauer, leading the way.
After lunch, the girls had a large group discussion focused on dreaming big for GUM. For the large group discussion, girls were asked “If you had all the resources in the world and the sky was the limit, what would you dream big and create for GUM?” The girls responded to this sky’s-the-limit question with answers that were sky-high, such as a GUM blimp and a GUM t-shirt cannon. We heard that the girls want to be more connected to one another and to more ultimate opportunities in their areas. We also heard from a coach that it would be nice to have more female coaches in the sport. And we heard over and over again that girls wanted to see ultimate played at the highest level in the Olympics. These ideas and many more were recorded and will be discussed as the Girls’ Ultimate Movement develops and plans for the future.
Next came the breakout sessions! Each girl attended breakout sessions on two different topics that interested them. These sessions gave the girls an opportunity to discuss their lives as female athletes in ultimate and hear from girls from all across the country on similar topics. Each session is described below to give you a sense of the conversations that took place on GUM day.
Recruitment with Lindsay Lang and Sarah Anciaux
At this highly popular station, the girls discussed strategies for increasing the number of girls playing ultimate in their areas. In order to figure out how to convince more girls to play, they were asked to go back and try to remember why they had originally started playing ultimate and what keeps them playing. The answers to these questions had two common themes: we love ultimate because it is fun, and we love the spirit of the game. From there, they worked on brainstorming ways to share this message with girls who have not played ultimate before. This session resulted in a simple list of action items that ultimate girls anywhere can use to spread the sport they love to their peers (see above for list).
Postcards to Club Players with Jenny Wei
During this session, girls wrote postcards to players at the club level of ultimate that they admire and asked them to respond to their questions on Twitter with #GUM_AMA. This project was a huge success! Several prominent club players, such as Opi Payne and Miranda Roth, responded to the girls’ questions via social media.
GUM Blog Brainstorm with Sarah Powers and Meg Duffy
At the GUM Blog Brainstorming session, Sarah and I asked girls what kind of topics they would want to read about on the GUM website. The girls had TONS of ideas for cool articles that they want to see on the GUM website. The feedback provided by the girls in this session will inspire the content of this blog.
The day ended with spirit awards. The girls took turns voting on the most spirited player from each U-16 girls’ team.
Thank you to everyone who supported GUM Day 2015! If you are inspired by the growing Girls’ Ultimate Movement and want to make a pledge to support girls’ ultimate, you can tweet at us at @GUMUltimate !
Meg Duffy is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she plays club ultimate for the the nationally ranked women’s team, Phoenix; she is one of the leaders of Take The Field, girls’ ultimate leadership program in North Carolina; she serves as the Regional Coordinator for the Atlantic Coast women’s college division; and ran an awesome GUM Clinic this past weekend in Asheville, NC!