12 Jun Girls-only school sessions at Surf Snowdonia
It’s an alarming statistic: half of the children growing up in the UK don’t do enough exercise to stay healthy.
A 2013 study by University College of London found that just over half of the 6,500 children they monitored achieved the recommended hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
But break down those figures again and you’ll see that there is a worrying gender divide, with girls far less active than boys. For the girls taking part in the study, the proportion getting an hour or more of exercise per day was just 38%.
The study has highlighted that there is much to do to get children and young people into the habit of being active – and really enjoying sport and exercise – as they grow older. But it’s also thrown up some interesting questions about what is preventing young people – especially girls – from engaging in physical activity in the first place.
Often, the barriers to being active come down to opportunity, confidence and social expectation. Or, more precisely, a lack of all three of the above.
Luckily for girls in North Wales, the engagement teams at The Outdoor Partnership and Conwy Council are on the case. And we were delighted when they approached us to ask about sessions at Surf Snowdonia, and whether we’d like to work with them on a girls-only schools programme designed to encourage girls into enjoying physical activity.
It sounded like a fantastic idea to us, and so we have worked – so far – with two local schools to deliver six-week afterschool courses introducing them to our favourite sport. So far 36 girls have taken part.
We’d be lying if we told you all of the girls immediately relished getting into their wetsuits and then into the water to try something completely new. But… that soon passed. There’s something quite magical that happens when you feel that first wave take hold of your board and power you back to shore. And it’s not before you’re hooked. We’ve had a lot of beaming faces emerging from the water over these last few weeks.
In the girls’ own words, here’s some of the feedback they’ve given us:
“It’s so funny”
“It was amazing”
“It was brilliant”
“I love it”
“It’s so cool”
“If you put your chin on the board you go faster”
“I learnt to keep my balance”
“It was fantastic and they took great care of me”
“I became more confident in the water”
“I want to come back and take more lessons”
“I would like to get some technical coaching so I can grow up to be a surfer”
“I liked that it was only girls and all my friends wanted to go”
“I’d like advanced surf coaching”
We reckon it’s been a pretty successful programme so far!
All of our school-sessions are delivered by our highly qualified surf instructors and follow an expert, structured programme.
We offer reduced rates to school groups using our facilities, with sessions from £20 per student, including wetsuit and equipment hire. If you would like to find out more about how we could deliver surfing sessions for your students, give our schools groups coordinator Bo Roberts a call on 01492 353 123 or email her on email@example.com.
If you’d like to contact The Outdoor Partnership to find out more about how they deliver activity programme for schools, contact their regional outdoor activity inclusion officer Bethan Davies on firstname.lastname@example.org / + 44 1690 720 167.