Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2016

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16 Hudson Valley Parent n August 2016 The pluses may have many a par- ent anxiously awaiting the moment their daughter decides she wants to suit up and play, but what happens when she wants to try her hand at martial arts, football, ice hockey or even rugby? A little bit of panic When her then 9-year-old daugh- ter, Tanner, asked about starting karate, Newburgh mom Gretchen Quill initially balked, thinking that the activity was too rough and that her little girl would get hurt. That was until she saw Tanner participate in a demonstration during a summer program when an instructor - a fourth-degree black belt who taught karate and self-de- fense - recognized her ability to land safely while doing break falls. "After seeing her train [for] and participate in the events, my anxiet- ies were put to rest," Quill says. "She is an introvert by nature but on the By FELICIA HODGES T hanks to Title IX, the ground-breaking legislation that prohibited gender discrim- ination in education (and hence, extra-curricular sports), girls sports teams are not nearly as uncommon as they were before the early 1970s. Today, girls can be found in droves on high school and collegiate soccer, softball, and volleyball fields as well as participating in track and swim meets across the country. While statistics show that 69 per- cent of American females between the ages of 8 and 17 took part in an organized sport of some kind in 2010 (compared to 75 percent of males), studies show that girls who compete are 92% less likely to get involved with drugs, almost three times as likely to graduate from high school and have fewer self-esteem issues than non-athletes. Play like a girl: The contact sports connection mat, she becomes a beast." Tanner joined the instructor's ka- rate class in Newburgh shortly after the demonstration and now at 14, she is on track to earn her black belt within the next two years. According to Laura Bagnarol, a social worker who coordinates a Fishkill-based flag football program called the Pigskin Princess Project for girls which she started when her daughter, Giuliana, was just 4, society tends to assume that little girls are somehow more fragile than little boys. "I...recently read about an Olym- pic wrestler, Adeline Gray, who mentioned her only obstacle when wrestling against the boys as a kid was her hair," she says. "Just as boys and girls start out playing soccer and tee ball against one another at age 3, they can - if they have the drive, knowledge and passion - suit up and play football or hockey against one another when they are 9 and 10." Tanner, 14 Shaye, 10 Bailey (standing on the right) Giuliana, 7 Photo by Felicia Hodges Photo Provided Photo Provided Photo Provided

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