On a frosty fall morning, 105 girls streamed into the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City to meet and run around with 20 of the best female athletes in the world. At the annual Fast and Female Champ Camp, participants have the opportunity to try new and familiar sports (cross-country, alpine, and freestyle skiing; basketball, soccer, taekwondo, and dance) and hear inspirational stories from Olympic gold medalists and world champions. Fast and Female is a nonprofit that partners with female Olympians who act as ambassadors to empower and motivate young girls to stay in sports.
This year’s Champ Camp had some new and enthusiastic participants. Fast and Female ambassadors partnered with the Solomon Fund to increase access for young Latina girls. The event, which previously did not see any Latina participation, is one great example of how the Solomon Fund is working hard to increase integration through recreation.
U.S. Ski Team member and Olympian Liz Stephen headed up the effort when she attended the Solomon Fund fall registration event and invited the Latino community to participate. With translated promotional materials and an interpreter, Stephen was able to raise awareness about the upcoming event. Over the next month, the Solomon Fund staff continued to do outreach and to help sign up girls for the camp. In the end, out of the 105 participants that attended the camp, 12 of them were Latina.
Nikki Brothers Keye, mother of a Fast and Female participant and active McPolin Elementary School parent, said, “When kids are integrated into programs, the parents also become integrated. This allows [Latino] parents to feel more comfortable and welcome at these events.”
The Solomon Fund strives to facilitate access to sports and recreation opportunities to create a more integrated and inclusive community. The Fund has set a goal of 21% Latino participation in athletics to reflect the number of Latino students in the Park City School District. With 11% Latina participation at this year’s Fast and Female Champ Camp, the Solomon Fund is one step closer to achieving those goals.