The Webster definition of a role model is: a person whose behaviour in a particular role is imitated by others.
Being a role model is a very serious and impactful job, but on the other hand, it is also an extremely rewarding and fulfilling job.
As adults and coaches, I understand our influence on our young girls, teens and even the adult women we coach. As much as we teach the sport of boxing to improve their physical fitness and boxing skill, we are responsible for guiding them through a comprehensive healthy lifestyle which may include: nutritional advice, mental strength and fortitude, self love, and the importance of overall health to help them in their daily lives while forming habits to last a lifetime.
In 2013, Coach Kristina was introduced to the Fast & Female by her dear friend and Olympian boxer Mandy Bujold. She fell in love with all of it and shortly after became a R.E.A.L Role Model with Fast & Female – an organization whose mission is to keep girls healthy and active in sports; a mission that GJWB also embodies. Fast & Female introduces self-identified girls aged 8-14 to inspiring athlete role models at non-competitive, fun-filled events all over North America. I joined the program later in 2018. R.E.A.L Role Model refers to: Relatable, Empowered, Active Leaders.
41% of girls age 3-16 don’t participate in any sport. Without the introduction to sports, they are unaware of the benefits. Especially for girls in that age group it is vital that they are exposed to women in sport – whether these women are: athletes, coaches, sports broadcasters, officials, Olympians, nutritionists, therapists, etc – to show options for when they go grow up. There are many opportunities to be involved with sports outside of going to the Olympics and many opportunities and careers after the Olympics. Without visible women in these roles it may seem unavailable, unachievable or not even and option. You have to see one to be one.
Coach KJEM and I have been VERY lucky to partner and work on Fast & Female champ chats and other events (including virtual!) to introduce boxing to girls and help encourage them to stay in sport. Sport not only has physical benefits, but also helps young girls and teens develop the confidence, leadership and teamwork skills that are essential for life.
Studies from Ernst & Young have found that 94% of women who hold C-suite level positions are former athletes - proving the correlation between athletics and leadership.
Having had many opportunities to be at these events, it is extremely rewarding to see the spark in these girl’s eyes as they learn how to throw punches, have fun, make new friends, and allow us to share our personal experiences in the boxing world. I know first-hand how boxing has changed my life and I just want to encourage these girls to stay active in boxing or any sport!
In the sport of boxing specifically, we need to see more females in all areas: athletes, coaches, cut (wo)man, officials, referees, announcers, commentators, promoters, etc. There are many different path options for girls and women to stay in the sport of boxing as a career even if/when they are not competing. Without these role models we may lose these girls to another sport or career path.
As the community pillar of GJWB and Level 5 of our program, we have a network of women within the sport to assist girls with any questions, sparring, clubs, connecting with other athletes, and more. It is our goal to bridge the gap and help our community with their boxing journey - wherever it may take them! This is also something GJWB will continue to do with the ambassador program launching in 2021. Please sign up to our newsletter below to stay up to date on that program and all things GJWB.
Do you have any role models in your life? How have they influenced you through sport or general life?