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Cori Bartel (red sleeves) works with participants during the Girls Rock 2023 event in Kamloops, British Columbia (Photo, Curling Canada/Jamie Allen)

Women in Curling Leaders’ Circle aims to increase women’s participation in sport

By Dave Komosky

Most young Canadian girls and women do not participate in sports, and some of those who do drop out prematurely.

According to the Rally Report, only 18 percent of Canadian women aged 16 to 63 participate in sports.

The Women in Curling Leaders Circle is doing its part to help change that, while also pursuing its core goal of inspiring and creating new opportunities for women in leadership roles in curling.

The Circle — a group of dynamic Canadian women’s sports leaders, coaches and staff — will once again be active at the 2024 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, with three days of workshops, social events and presentations for help find ways to open new avenues for women. get involved in all aspects of curling; as an athlete, coach, administrative role, ice maker, and more. One of the goals is for each participant to bring new ideas and information back to their home environment.

Elaine Dagg-Jackson

The Circle was created five years ago following a Sport Canada initiative in favor of gender equity and leadership in sport for women.

“While Curling Canada is a leader in equality and women’s involvement, we wanted to see if we could do an even better job creating opportunities for women and making them feel welcomed and valued,” said said Elaine Dagg-Jackson, Curling Canada women’s team manager. high performance program manager. “Our goal is to find ways to recruit, advance and retain women in leadership and support positions, as well as ensure that every woman and girl has the opportunity to participate in curling.

Part of the group’s activities in Calgary will include a female-led Girls Rock program involving women at the Calgary Curling Club on Saturday to create a safe and fun space to learn curling. In total, 68 young girls (more than 110 applications were received), from various backgrounds, will take part in the event, organized in coordination with Curling Alberta.

Cori Morris, who coached Cheryl Bernard’s 2010 Olympic silver medalist Calgary team, will lead the program with participation from many local coaches as well as Circle members. Students will receive instruction from experienced coaches and players from across Canada.

Involving youth in sport is a major goal of Curling Canada, and The Circle sees the Girls Rock program as a natural fit for its activities.

“Our group is interested in gender equality as it relates to curling,” says Dagg-Jackson. “Our Circle members are looking for ways to increase the participation of girls and women in curling, as well as provide professional training and development for the next group of leaders. Girls Rock therefore meets a whole set of these objectives.

“The Scotties and Kruger are lifelong partnerships with women in curling. It’s just a natural partnership and a natural place to host a series of events related to girls and women in curling. It’s an inspiring environment.

Dagg-Jackson says Curling Canada will provide funding for member associations to host its own Girls Rock event once a year.

Girls Rock will be followed by Coaches Rock on Sunday, also at the Calgary Club. It will feature guest coaches, with a focus on professional development, including analysis, practice, strategy, tactics and coaching tools.

Cori Morris shows off her Olympic silver medal with a Girls Rock contestant. (Photo, Curling Canada/Jamie Allen)

“We received a small grant and for the first time we are having a Coaches Rock,” says Dagg-Jackson. “This is a basic priority, but coaches of all levels are welcome. The presentations will cover strategy and tactics, coaching tools, practice and analysis, aspects that will be valuable for female coaches.

This year’s conference will also celebrate and revisit the Circle’s achievements to date and prioritize projects and direction for the next two to five years.

There will also be a Champions Reunion, recognizing the achievements and contributions of past Alberta champions. The inaugural event took place last year in Kamloops, British Columbia and was a great success, leading to the formation of a Curl BC chapter of Women in Curling. It is hoped that by hosting an Alberta Champions meeting, Alberta women will also join initiatives that promote women and girls in curling.

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