| Jun 23, 2005


Feature article, June 23, 2005

Feature article June 23, 2005

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GALS: Healthy Living Inside and Out

by Meghan Balogh

On Thursday June 16, 415 grade 6-8 girls from eight different schools came together for the second annual Girls Active Living and Sports conference (GALS).

Only in its second year of existence, the GALS conference has more than doubled in size from the previous year. We had 180 girls the first year, and only 4 schools, shares Erica Withey, a student at Loughborough Public School. Erica and fellow Loughborough students Jessica Amey and Melissa Henessy took part in the morning Media Image workshop, a hands-on look at how GALS is presented to the public through the media. The three girls gave tours to the press and answered questions with concise and informative answers.

GALS is a very student-driven event, says Jessica. We put together the media releases, made the posters, and designed the t-shirts. Were also working on public speaking we gave a speech in the opening ceremonies, and were speaking again this afternoon.

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The day began with opening ceremonies, where former Olympian and three-time Canadian triathlon champion Sharon Donnelly spoke to the girls from Loughborough, Bay Ridge, Land O Lakes, Perth Road, Hinchinbrooke, Lancaster, Rideau Heights, and Joyceville public schools.

From there students branched out in groups to participate in 4 different workshops of their choice over the course of the day. Workshops included sports events such as basketball, volleyball, badminton, running/walking, rugby, soccer, frisbee, tennis, weight training, dance, and fencing. Other workshops focused in on life skills: healthy friendships, leadership, hair and skin care, self defence, nutrition, yoga, fitness, stress management, goal setting, media image/self esteem, and first aid.

The neat thing about GALS is that it gives girls a chance to try new things, said Melissa Henessy. It gives people who dont really like school sports such as track and field or soccer a chance to find something they do like.

GALS received support from numerous sources, including the Limestone Learning Foundation, Royal Military College, Limestone District School Board, and KFL&A Public Health. Workshop presenters coaches, personal trainers, nurses, paramedics, and instructors from the area all volunteered their time to make the event a success and an enjoyment for the girls participating.

Jessica Ameys words sum up the goals of the GALS conference, and the desired end for this event. It seems like girls from grades 6-8 are never happy with the way they look, and they dont believe that they are beautiful. GALS is teaching young girls how to feel comfortable with themselves, and how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Its helping girls learn to feel beautiful for who they are.

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