The Girls’ Ultimate Movement is a USA Ultimate program that provides resources and funding to drive girls’ participation in the sport, develop leaders and inspire female athletes.
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.
History of GUM
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. While all three have transitioned away from their roles and are doing exciting things for girls and sport elsewhere, GUM continues to evolve as a movement and community.
gum strategic plan
Goal 1: Become a more welcoming and inclusive sport by empowering and enabling girls to proactively respond to the 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.
Goal 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.
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Goal 3: Train adults to 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 maximize involvement and participation of girls, both for girls’ teams/activities and for mixed gender playing opportunities.
THE GUM TEAM
Girls’ Outreach Coordinators (GOC) are dedicated to creating more playing opportunities for girls at the state or local level. This USA Ultimate volunteer position helps us support, promote and stay connected to all the great work on the ground occurring to grow the amount of girls playing ultimate. Find out who your GOC is here.
If you’re interested in joining the GUM team as a GOC, click here.
GUM AMBASSADOR TEAMS
Launched in 2018, the GUM Team Ambassador Program is designed to help bring some of the sport’s top teams together with outreach efforts in their local communities.