Last week, shortly after arriving, we had a Fast and Female celebration in Park City with about 80 little kids and 30 parents. In the last three years, I have participated in six separate Fast and Female events around the US. My second event was in Anchorage, where nearly 200 kids showed up, so we have had quite the variation in activities among these six events. This Fast and Female event was a first in its nature though. Seeing as Park City is the base for the US Ski Team, we took advantage of the variation in talents and sports represented here; inviting ambassadors from different sports such as speed skating, alpine skiing, moguls, snow boarding, aerials, biathlon and cross country skiing. Likewise, we also invited young girls from all variations in sports. This made it both different and exciting for the actual event.
Applying the PINK!
The event was based out of the Center of Excellence (the base for the US Ski Team), which is full of lots of fun toys; such as the foam pits, skateboard parks, trampolines, speed skating boards, a track, a massive gym, and a dancing area. The day started with an introduction to the ambassadors, a team cheer for each of the age groups, and then the event circuits. The circuits consisted of seven separate stations, represented by the seven different sports. I was working with the nine year olds, so I got to practice all the different activities with the young girls as I went around. Kikkan and Jessie were running the cross-country skiing station, so instead of making the girls run around they picked active dancing. Mixed with a fun dance routine each group made up, Kikkan and Jessie would lead the girls through a series of exercises such as; running and dancing, push ups to the beat of the music, crazy jumps and crawls, and any dance move you could think of to go with the beat of the music. It was awesome!!!
Decorating with some of the girls in my group.
The morning of the event we had a 3 hr ski up to one of the nearby passes, so all of us Nordic athletes were pooped. With so much young excitement though, our excitement levels stayed high until we crashed about five minutes after the event finished. That was a true day of training!
The x-country ladies.
Following the circuits we had inspirational talks from some of the ambassadors who had won Olympic medals. It was a true inspiration to hear these ladies talk, even for the younger ambassadors like myself. Shannon Bahrke and Emily Cook started out by telling stories about their careers, their ups and downs, and the feeling of joy and pride as they stood on the podium at the Olympic Games. Emily explained a really great lesson for the young girls as she related the closing ceremonies, where everyone walks out together, to the friendships and sportsmanship’s you share in sport. It was even giving me goosebumps!! Then a speed skating Olympic medalist as well as Kikkan both gave talks about their careers and how important it is to love all the activities as a young child.
The ladies giving their inspirational talks.
Shannon Bahrke, Olympic Medalist, and now running a rockin coffee business called SilverBean.
Following the inspirational talks, we went on to signing posters for all the little kids. I even got a poster that I am going to hang on my wall at home, as many of those girls I was working with that day have already proven they are the best athletes in the world. How cool to share that experience with them, and see them get all dressed in pink and have a ball with the younger kids.
The Nordic Ambassadors and the TUNA team out of Park City.
Fast and Female is a really special thing, and I have loved taking part in it; as I see so many younger kids come away with enthusiasm, and a motivated effort to lead a healthy and fun lifestyle. It is truly a rewarding thing, and sometimes, like this event in Park City, even I come away with a new motivation!
The whole crew!
Another really cool thing about this event is, in conjunction with the kids portion, we also ran a parents seminar, where all the US Ski Team resources were used to educate the parents on what sports is all about. Our Nutritionist, Sports Psychologist, and Physical Therapist educated parents on what they can do to help their children lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as participate in competitive sports. I think that too was really successful! This is something we haven’t done in the US yet, but it has been a part of the Canadian Fast and Female events for a while, so it was great to finally start incorporating that into our process.
Our next Fast and Female event will be in Rumford Maine in January, and then in Craftsbury, Vermont at the end of March. Look for those events if you are a young girl, or you have a young daughter!!
An update on the Park City training camp soon to come!