Players provide a positive influence
"You face a lot of challenges in college," says senior Julia Leslie, member of the Skidmore women's soccer team, "but when I came to Skidmore and joined a team, I automatically gained over 20 best friends … having these people to talk through things and look out for you along the way is a great thing."
Leslie speaks to the many benefits of participating in sports and the special camaraderie
formed by female mentorship on teams. It's this experience that she, alongside nearly
80 women athletes at Skidmore, is hoping to share with young girls in the community
by participating in Skidmore's 12th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day
NGWSD is an occasion celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events that honor the accomplishments of female athletes, the positive influence of sports participation and the continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.
Over the years, Skidmore's NGWSD has given more than 1,000 local girls the opportunity to discover and enjoy sports in a fun and informative clinic setting led by college athletes.
"Each of our teams set up mini-clinics and activities for the girls. You have basketball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, field hockey, volleyball, rowing … everything really," said Leslie. "Some of the girls that attend don't consider themselves players of a particular sport. But after trying one, they're smiling and having a lot of fun."
This year, Skidmore expanded the program by partnering with Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York for the first time.
"You can't be what you can't see."
— Allison Marinucci, Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York
"You can't be what you can't see," said Allison Marinucci, young women's leadership
initiative program manager for the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. "This event
gives girls an opportunity to be exposed to activities they haven't considered … and
a big piece of that is female mentorship. The girls work with students and coaches
and think, 'wow this is possible for me.'"
Lacey Largeteau, head women's soccer coach at Skidmore, sees the program as a growth opportunity for everyone involved.
"A lot of the girls participating have grown up with us," said Largeteau. "They start
as third-graders and come back each year through junior high. At the same time, we
have college freshman participating through their senior year … it's special to see
everyone growing together, in their own ways."
Above all, the women are focused on creating a safe environment for exploration. "Sisterhood is powerful…making it an all-girls event means there's no fear of failure. They feel comfortable having fun and being silly," said Marinucci.
"When the girls walk away saying, 'Wow I didn't even know rowing existed!' or 'Can we try to find a clinic for that near me?' That just makes you feel good," said Largeteau.
In 1972 (the year the Title IX act was signed) only one in 27 girls played high school sports. Now, that number has risen nationally to two in five. The efforts of Skidmore's athletes will play a role in future growth.
About Skidmore Athletics
The Skidmore Thoroughbreds athletic program offers some of the nation's top sports opportunities. The college is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and a founding members of the Liberty League, allowing Skidmore women to participate in a number of intercollegiate varsity sports, including:
- Field hockey
- Swimming and diving
Skidmore students also participate in thriving intramural programs that provide a wide variety of coeducational sports activities at a non-varsity level, including:
- Alpine skiing
- Club basketball
- Club hockey
- Fly fishing
- Martial arts
- Nordic skiing
- Snow sports
- Ultimate Frisbee