This Girl Can

More than 400 of our girls took part in a fun-packed week of sport as part of an initiative to get more girls active in sport. This Girl Can is a national campaign celebrating women of all sizes and abilities taking part in excercise. Sixth Form student Hannah wilding took the initiative one step further and created Chepstow Girls Can, encoraging our year 7 to 11 girls to try out sports that they may never have attempted before. These included martial arts, netball, street dance, Zumba, boot camp, hockey and table tennis. The highlights of the week came on the Friday, when former Welsh international rugby player Phillipa Tuttiett visited us and ran a series of rugby skills sessions, and the two hour community Zumbathon raising funds for Clic Sargent. Well done to Hannah and all the amazing girls who supported the events, we are very proud.

The motivation behind #chepstowgirlscan

When approached with the opportunity to organise a ‘This Girl Can’ project in Chepstow Comprehensive School I was excited about the prospect of having a positive influence on girls’ sport participation.

Lower down the school I absolutely hated PE and all things sport, and had come to the conclusion that a minority of people were ‘sporty’ and everyone else wasn’t; and I certainly wasn’t. It was only through my natural ability to lead that I fell into sport. Chepstow School Sports Leadership Academy was set up when I was in Year 10 and I was keen to put my leadership skills to use. Since then I have never looked back and now not only have I led in over 300 hours’ worth of sessions, I now also regularly participate in sport, especially netball, training for 3 hours a week. In 2014 I was one of only 2 of the senior team who were selected to go to county trials.

#chepstowgirlscan is Chepstow School’s event running as part of the wider ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, which saw 390 girls from years 7-11 participate in a variety of activities run by local community coaches. The aim was to empower all the girls to confidently take part in physical activity. As part of our #chepstowgirlscan week we ran an evening Zumba session where girls were encouraged to invite a female along with them to take our campaign out into the local community. We also held a Zumbathon for all girls and female staff in the school to raise money for Clic Sargent.

Welsh International rugby player Philippa Tuttiett joined in the campaign on Friday 2nd October, running 2 rugby sessions for girls in year 11 and participating in our Zumbathon fundraiser.  Having heard Philippa speak at the South East Wales Young Ambassador Day about her determination to pick herself up after every setback, her persistence to be in the Welsh Rugby team, and her subsequent success, I found myself feeling inspired to strive to achieve my best. I quickly decided that she would be a great role model for the girls like me who had written themselves off where sport is concerned.

I never had an opportunity like this when I was lower in the school, and having had my eyes opened to the benefits of participating in regular physical activity, I have been extremely passionate in the organising and running of this event to overturn the stereotypes that surround girls sport, particularly ‘you have to be sporty to take part in physical activity’.

Hannah Wilding, Year 13