This Saturday was a very special and wonderful day!
Danielle and I hosted GSW’s first Women in Sports Day with students from all four of the schools in which we work. We invited guest female athletes to teach our girls a bit about their sport and discuss how sports has benefited them throughout their lives.
It was amazing to welcome all of our girls together at the beginning of the day. They were very excited to meet new Chicas Dinámicas and find out that they all did the same class warm-up and stretches! After a massive game of Sirenes y Tiburones (Sharks and Minnows) we split the girls into three teams and sent them each to a different guest teacher station.
Paola Carrillo, the owner of a local dance studio (one where I teach hip hop classes!), was at one station. Paola taught the girls some cool moves and told them about her journey through dance. She started dancing ballet at a young age, and dance has been a great source of joy ever since. For many years she dreamed of owning a dance studio, and with much hard work was able to realize her dream. She encouraged the girls to keep moving in whatever way makes them feel happy and healthy, and to believe that they can achieve anything and everything!
Then we had Katelyn Starmann, a dynamite ultimate frisbee player. She captained her college ultimate team for three years and has recently entered coaching. Katelyn works for an NGO called Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development that collaborates with indigenous communities to raise the standard of living through sustainable development initiatives. She has continued her passion for sports in Peru by playing in an ultimate frisbee league in the Sacred Valley. Our students love frisbee or “disco,” so they were very excited to learn from an expert! After running some drills and playing a full scrimmage, Katelyn spoke with the girls about how frisbee has made her feel strong and confident in herself.
Finally we had Alicia Guzman and her friend Sarah. Alicia is from Ecuador and has played many sports throughout her life but primarily focused on track and volleyball. She studied public policy and has worked in management roles at several NGOs in many different countries. On Saturday Alicia led a running lesson, teaching our girls how to stretch and prepare themselves for an intense run as well as how to properly run a relay race. Our chicas were thrilled to be able to compete with and against girls from other schools! Alicia discussed the importance of sports in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically. It doesn’t have to be about being the fastest or the best, just about doing what makes you happy. She described sports as, “A friend that will never leave you—whenever you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you can just lace up your sneakers, play your favorite sport, and let all that negative energy go.”
We held the event at the IPD (Instituto Peruano del Deporte) or Coliseo Cerrado, which is an extensive sports complex in the center of Cusco. Some of the girls had never been there before and were excited to see that there were so many different sports facilities available to them!
Danielle and I were so inspired by the hard work our girls put in and the unbridled joy that filled the day. Thank you to our amazing guest teachers for serving as strong female athlete role models and for motivating our students to keep on playing. We hope that they will follow your example and grow up to become Mujeres Dinámicas themselves!