This summer we’re enjoying a fantastic range of sporting events – the World Cup, Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games, Tour de France – all perfect opportunities to inspire children and young people to participate in sports and activities.
Recently there has been a lot of media coverage about women in sport. Last month the Girls Day School Trust’s annual conference focused upon the importance of sports at their schools in response to national statistics revealing that girls are participating in sports far less than boys. Worryingly, figures show that by the age of nine, girls are already less physically active than boys, and by the time they are 14 just 12% of girls are reaching the recommended levels of physical activity, whereas boys are double this percentage at the same age.
The reasons for these figures will be varied – for some girls it may be a lack of confidence in their sporting abilities, for others they may simply not enjoy the sports available to them in mainstream PE curriculums. Other reports suggest that physical appearance and body image is an increasing factor for girls choosing not to partake in sports.
Here at Kings Camps we actually experience a large number of girls attending our camps – last year 41% of children attending our camps were girls, and so far this year, this has increased slightly to 44%.
Our ethos, that applies to all areas of the Kings organisation is to support all children, not just girls, to enjoy opportunities to be active and participate in sports, and our summer camps fully support this:
- We offer a varied sports programmes – children, in and outside of the school environment, should be given more opportunities to experience a wider selection of sports. Our popular Multi-Active programme offers a wide range of different activities so children can participate in some sports that they haven’t tried before, and hopefully discover something new. As well as netball, rounders and tennis, children attending our Multi-Active programme also get the chance to try lacrosse, yoga, squash, rugby, trampolining, tri-golf or climbing. By introducing new sports and games children are more likely to discover an activity that they will enjoy, which will in turn increase their confidence and interest in sport. For those children that do want more specialist coaching we also offer week-long football cricket and swim coaching sessions.
- We provide inspiring role models – children need positive role models to inspire and motivate them, from sports stars such as Jessica Ennis, Heather Watson and recent Commonwealth Gold medalist, Jodie Stimpson, to our very own Kings Camps’ coaches! Currently, 52% of our camp staff are female and they are all positive, enthusiastic and passionate about sports, with many of them having elite sporting skills such as Rheanne Bailey – a regular coach at our Birmingham camps, who is also a member of the Great Britain basketball squad! Both our male and female coaches demonstrate to the children how much fun sports can be, and support them to be active and fulfill their own sporting potential, focusing upon having lots of fun and giving things a go!
- Our camps welcome girls and boys – inequalities still very much exist in our society. Earlier this month the first female Principal of the University of St Andrews, Prof Louise Richardson, spoke out about sexist attitudes that still existed within some sporting establishments that had denied her entry to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club – a tradition that has been granted historically to all her male predecessors. We congratulate Prof Richardson for highlighting these old-fashioned views – girls need to be empowered so they have the confidence to play alongside boys as equals. On our camps children are grouped together based upon their age, not their ability or sex – so girls coming to our camps can enjoy playing alongside both boys and girls of a similar age, with an emphasis upon being active and working together.
Throughout the summer season we’ll be speaking with children and parents to identify any new activities that can be incorporated into our camps that might increase the enjoyment for both boys and girls. In the meantime, encourage your children to be active at home and lets keep our children active and happy.
For new ideas to keep your kids active at home get in touch and request one of our Activity Posters – great fun for girls and boys alike!