The future is female
What: Girls and Women in Sports Day
When: 12 pm Sat., Feb. 8
Where: Whatcom Middle School, 810 Halleck St.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Susan Conrad says sexism wasn’t an issue when she made a solo kayak journey from Anacortes to Juneau, Alaska in the summer of 2010—but she did have to contend with 700-pound grizzly bears, 40-ton whales and unreconciled feelings from an often-painful childhood.
“Some folks thought I was crazy attempting something like this by myself, others respected the journey I was on,” Conrad says. “And others, I could tell, were seduced by the romance, the sheer adventure of it. Most of the ‘old salts’—seasoned fisherman, sailors and folks who make their living off the sea—innately understood how serious and committed I was.”
The adventurer and author of Inside: One Woman’s Journey through the Inside Passage will discuss the 1,200-mile trip that took her along the western coast of North America as part of a 34th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration taking place Sat., Feb. 8 at Whatcom Middle School. She’ll be one of three inspirational speakers on the roster.
Attendees at the free gathering will be privy to the fears, epiphanies and lessons Conrad learned during her oceanic odyssey, and she hopes her stories and imagery will empower other girls and women to understand that they are capable of accomplishing just about anything they want in life.
The event is meant to celebrate the importance of fair play, building awareness about Title IX—the law meant to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that is federally funded—and working together toward its promise of equal opportunity in sports.
In addition to hearing from Conrad, sports dietician Heidi Strickler, and runner and coach Krissy Moehl, participants can also connect with local clubs, teams and organizations while enjoying mini skills sessions, an obstacle course, a photo booth, an art wall and more.
This year’s theme, “Lead Her Forward,” is intended to celebrate all the ways girls and women everywhere are pointing the way to a brighter future, with advocates using their platforms to inspire greatness in female athletes.
Conrad is one of them. As an ambassador for Women Who Paddle, she uses her human-powered journeys as an example of what women can do when they get outside and get exploring. She also has advice for those planning their own solo adventures.
“Get clear on what it is you want to accomplish; what you want out of the journey,” she says. “Be committed to the undertaking and all that it entails—planning, learning, determination, endurance, hardships, magic, misery, fear, courage, etc.
“Reach out to mentors for guidance, set a date and go for it,” she adds. “Trust that you are infinitely capable of accomplishing anything you want.”
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