Girls take on the world, and the rink

Speed skating workshop aims to inspire


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This article was published 22/01/2018 (1777 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Playing sports and confidence go hand-in-hand, Andrea Katz says.

She’s the founder of FIT Communications, as well as the organizer of an upcoming workshop called Strong Girls on Ice — a daylong session that will get girls age five to 17 speed skating and talking about goals, self-esteem and self-love.

Katz has organized a few empowerment events in the past, and she said it’s an important way to reach young girls who might be interested in playing sports.

Supplied photo Strong Girls on Ice will have participants trying out speed skating as well as listening to a talk by Olympian Susan Auch.

“Girls are up to six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys, and there are a few reasons attributed to that, but one is a lack of positive female role models,” Katz said.

“So we want to put on these events that combat those issues because we know the power of sport.

“You meet new friends, gain self-confidence, which is a huge piece of it for sure. Obviously it’s good for your health but you also learn time management, you learn how to win, you learn how to lose. There’s all sort of things you can carry on into bigger picture life stuff.”

Strong Girls on Ice will take place on Jan. 28 at the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex (999 Sargent Ave.) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event opens with a talk by five-time Olympian speed skater Susan Auch, who is a great role model for young girls, Katz said. Katz and event partner, Allison Gervais, also have a lifelong history in sport, and hope to inspire participants to pursue athletics if they want to.

But more important than which sports girls may want to play is the message that all girls deserve to feel confident and strong.

“Some girls will turn 30 and think ‘Why don’t I love myself?’… We have had girls that literally couldn’t think of one reason why they should love themselves, and it was so sad to see.

“It was heartbreaking, because every little girl should think they can take on the world.”

Andrea Richardson-Lipon has taken her daughter Madeline to several empowerment workshops in the past.

At six, Madeline is already an enthusiastic athlete, and Richardson-Lipon says she gets a lot out of the sessions.

Supplied photo

“You’re never too young in knowing you have a voice,” she said.

“It’s so important to be surrounded by other girls her age, and older, so they get that kind of mindset that they are strong, they don’t need to sit back and take a passenger’s seat.”

Richardson-Lipon says that Madeline has big goals, and the workshops have been useful in teaching her how to work on them and follow through.

“She wants to do a triathlon this summer. So to do that she knows she will have to swim a little better, so in her swimming she’s been working hard to get to that,” Richardson-Lipon said.

“Her little mind sets these little goals, and that totally stems from those workshops, along with encouraging her.”

Tickets are $16 and are available online at

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