A new Youthtown initiative is being trialled at Waitaki Girls’ High School to encourage more young women to be active.
“Her Move” is for female secondary school pupils who are not engaged in sport and recreation at present and want to try something new in a safe environment.
From June 16, Youthtown is going to run two sessions a week for pupils – a Tuesday morning fitness session and a Thursday-afternoon activity session.
Youthtown Oamaru co-ordinator Anika Smith said it was about reaching girls who were “falling through the cracks” when it came to participating in sport.
“One of the focus areas of Sport New Zealand is increasing female participation,” Smith said.
“They can go and have a hit-out with their mates, and have a good time, rather than [it being] competition-based.”
The long-term aim of Her Move was to help girls stay active and healthy, she said.
“It would be great if they signed up to some sports later, but the main objective is to be physically active on a regular basis once this finishes.”
For the activity sessions, pupils would be able to choose from a variety of activities, from the likes of archery and slacklining to contact sports, Smith said.
“We have a great hope with our mahi that we can connect with those who do not wish to take part in large-scale, mainstream, competitive school sport, but might be encouraged to find their niche and discover the value in physical activity via another pathway.
“We want to create a focused, reflective and inspiring space for young women aged 15-18 to grow their understanding of physical activity, personal wellbeing and nutritional needs.”
Her Move was developed by Youthtown in Waikato two years ago and had since spread to Christchurch, where it had been successful, Smith said.
As a trial in Oamaru, the programme was restricted to Waitaki Girls’ pupils at present.
Waitaki Girls’ High School sports co-ordinator Alicia Jones said the programme was another way the school was “trying to promote things that keep girls active”.
“If girls are going to be sporty they will be sporty, but this is about getting those other girls out there and active.”