When Kirsten Ansell launched her inaugural Girls Day Out last Wednesday, she never dreamt it would cause such a stir amongst Novocastrian youngsters.
As founder of Host a Surfer, Kirsten was hoping to bridge the gap between girls and physical activity by offering them a chance to come and try a new sport for minimal cost.
The drawcard was to have each session hosted by a professional female athlete.
After launching online, half of the event’s classes sold out within days.
“It was launched on Sunday and we’d sold out half the sports by Wednesday,” Kirsten said.
“It’s so exciting to get such a great response.”
The event, to be held on Saturday 5 December from 9am to 1pm, will feature 45-minute clinics in surfing, soccer, rugby league and netball.
Each session will be held at Newcastle’s Foreshore Park and is open to girls aged six to 16.
“This is deliberate,” Kirsten said. “Girls begin to drop out of sport from age 11.
“I think that’s when they start getting self-conscious, they won’t surf in a bikini anymore and they aren’t yet comfortable in their own skin.
“That’s why we wanted a female-run event and all girl classes.”
Every participant in the inaugural event will receive a goodie bag, including a hat, Greater Bank voucher, sausage sandwich, drink, and Fruit Brothers fresh fruit.
Each sport has attracted the help of elite female athletes, including rugby league players Mel Howard, Claire Reed and Alicia Martin, World Qualifying series WQS surfers Philippa Anderson, Sarah Baum, and Elle Clayton Brown, Giants netballer Sam Poolman and Western Sydney Giants’ Matilda McDonell.
Newcastle Jets A League women’s team will also be represented at the event.
“I’ve found that women are passionate about helping women’s community sport,” Kirsten said.
“Our athletes have been so generous with their time and have asked for nothing in return.”
Kirsten hopes the four-hour event, sponsored by City of Newcastle, will open doors for girls in sport.
“We’re hoping girls will come along and connect with the athletes and see they are normal people and that anything is possible, you can do whatever you want, you just have to try.”