THUNDER BAY — Female Grade 9 students from across Thunder Bay got the chance to try a variety of different sports on Tuesday at Lakehead University.
A group of 20 local sport and activity providers showcased their events as part of the INSPIRE – Sports and Health for Life event, which was presented by Ontario Power Generation.
“It’s been pretty fun to try some of the different sports, especially ones that I haven’t done before,” St. Patrick student Vienna Minnella said.
“One of those sports that I hadn’t tried before today was lacrosse. It had always seemed really fun but I never had a chance to do it. It was pretty difficult at first and I ended up shooting the ball way over the net on my first try, but I got used to it.”
Fellow St. Patrick student Madelyn Brassard, who plays for the Superior North Volleyball Club, also got out of her comfort zone a bit during the day.
“I didn’t expect to see the rowing team here,” Brassard said. “I didn’t even know that was a club or a sport in Thunder Bay.
“It’s been awesome to everyone involved and having so much fun together. It kind of introduces girls to how important it is to be active and supporting of one another.”
One of the goals of the event was to get more young girls involved in sports, especially as there has been a drop in numbers following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I heard a stat recently that one in every three girls drops out of sport by the time they reach Grade 9,” Ontario Power Generation corporate relations officer Chad Tanner said.
“Any time that we get kids to try something that they haven’t experienced before, that’s important for all of us. It’s a huge thing for these young students to try these things and hopefully get involved in something that has physical and mental benefits going forward.”
The day also marked a chance for local sports organizations to get their name out there to a ton of people.
“We’re a bit of a dying sport so it’s been really nice to introduce more people to our club,” Thunder Bay Rowing Club competitor Rebecca Fequet said.
“Most of the girls we met today didn’t even know that we were around. It’s been great to advertise ourselves to them and hopefully we can get a few of the girls to join us and make our club a bit bigger.”
St. Patrick student Eden Bryson said Tuesday’s experience has her interested in trying figure skating, though she’s trying to figure out how to balance that with her cheerleading.
“All of the things we got to try today, from ultimate frisbee to skateboarding, was pretty neat,” Bryson added.
“It’s not often that you get to experience something like this and hopefully everyone here can find a different activity that can help them improve as a person.”