ABOUT GUM

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Did you know female players make up only 25% of the total youth currently playing ultimate? 

The Girls’ Ultimate Movement (GUM) is a community-wide outreach program designed to increase girls’ participation in the sport of ultimate. Players, coaches, administrators and parents across the US are thrilled to be participating in GUM. As an explosive team sport that emphasizes character and leadership skills, ultimate is the NEXT big sport for girls.

The Girls’ Ultimate Movement focuses on creating opportunities for youth and high school aged girls to participate in sports, lead with their peers, and celebrate the beauty of sport with their opponents. Through the Girls’ Ultimate Movement, USA Ultimate is collaborating with some of the nation’s most passionate and dedicated leaders to generate new and innovative ideas for programming, infrastructure, and policy that will facilitate development of the girls’ division!\

NOTE: Girls’ Ultimate Movement (GUM) recognizes many players use differing terms to define their gender or gender identity. GUM is inclusive of youth identifying as female, non-binary, gender fluid, transgender and/or using other self-identifying terms.


GUM STRATEGIC GOALS AND DEFINITIONS (2020-2022)

1. Become a more welcoming and inclusive sport by empowering and enabling girls to proactively respond to inequities they may experience.

Increased participation in ultimate is linked to more than simply recruitment and depends on an environment that feels welcoming and inclusive. In order to increase both recruitment and retention, we need to provide resources that affirm and empower girls using the USA Ultimate Core Values, specifically resources that highlight how these values relate to gender. These resources will help girls, and those working with them, to recognize and respond to biases, inequities and other problematic experiences they may face in relation to their identities, while simultaneously affirming these identities and empowering them as athletes. 

2. Increase the visibility of all levels of girls’ and women’s ultimate through consistent and targeted media exposure that connects the ultimate community to the girls’ ultimate movement and its mission to increase girls’ participation in ultimate.

Connect girls to ultimate through consistent social media promotion and leverage existing media resources. Through our GUM blog, website and social media channels, we will celebrate female ultimate players as strong role models and promote empowering messages that instill confidence in girls to play ultimate, join the community and challenge themselves to succeed. By continuing to change the perception of girls and women in ultimate to a more positive message and connect players through shared experiences, we will inspire existing players to take action and become involved in GUM’s targeted initiatives to provide more opportunities for girls to play ultimate.

3. Create environments for girls that promote and teach skills that lead to meaningful contributions on the field as well as connections for continued positive involvement in ultimate.

Girls face significant societal barriers to athletic participation and retention when compared to boys. Girls who feel uninvolved or undervalued in sport are unlikely to commit to the sport long term. They tend to want to play, and continue to play, when they are more involved in the game and in the community. We want girls to make an impact on the ultimate field and be valued for their contribution. The way drills and skills are taught can either promote involvement or discourage it. Resources need to be provided that enable organizers, volunteers and coaches to create and sustain environments that use effective language, interpersonal leadership skills and communication methods when coaching girls in order to both have a significant impact on their buy-in to the sport and contribute to creating a positive experience for participants. The structure of clinics, leagues and teams should be developed in a way that fosters behaviors which maximizing involvement and participation of girls, both for girls’ teams/activities and for mixed gender playing opportunities.

The GUM Team


Sarah Powers

MANAGER – USA ULTIMATE YOUTH & OUTREACH PROGRAMS
sarah@hq.usaultimate.org

Colorado Springs, CO
USA Ultimate

Gail Reich

GIRLS’ NATIONAL OUTREACH DIRECTOR
girlsoutreachdirector@usaultimate.org

Chicago, IL
USA Ultimate

GUM Founders


GUM was co-founded by Zara Cadoux, Heather Ann Brauer and Mike Lovinguth in 2014.  It was a true labor of love and they are inspired by the energy behind the movement.  All three have transitioned away from their GUM roles and are doing exciting things for girls and sport elsewhere.