Hello, ladies!

Today is the 33rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD)!

How amazing?!

This year’s theme is Lead Her Forward, which recognizes how sports and physical activity can produce a confidence for women allowing them to realize their excellence and immeasurable potential!

“NGWSD celebrates all the girls and women across the nation leading us forward into a bright future.” What a breath of fresh air this quote from ngwsd.org gives us!

Here at Volo we honor women in sports daily. We love and celebrate sports in our adult leagues as well as our youth sports programs with our Volo City Kids Foundation! Ultimately, we play so kids can play for free!

We thought today was the perfect opportunity to highlight some ladies who not only work and volunteer for us, but also who inspire us!

Ranya with NYC kids!

Let’s meet Ranya! She has volunteered with our NYC kids programs! Aside from NYC Social, what role does sports play in her life?

“Sports have played a central role in my life since I was a child. Whether it was through pick-up games or organized leagues, sports have always been a source of fun, release and physical activity. Developing the interest and habit to play sports early on has led me to play a variety of sports regularly in adulthood.

Sports can empower women in so many ways, and today is the absolute best day to celebrate that! The Women in Sports Foundation is an advocate in driving this mission forward. So how do sports empower Ranya?

“Growing up, I was often the only girl in sports. While I benefited from having an older sister to pave the way for my participation, among my age group female participation was rare. This helped me develop a sense of leadership. As I grew with my sport experiences, I learned many crucial life skills that I have carried with me into my personal and professional development (advocating for quality sport experiences for all kids). ”

We have some amazing women here at Volo City HQ in leadership roles. Take Nayla for example, she is the President of the Volo City Kids Foundation! Her love for sports didn’t happen overnight, she has been quite involved for her whole life.

“I have been playing sports for as long as I can remember. From the elementary school running club and the variations of basketball and football my siblings and I made up when there wasn’t a hoop or field available…. to summers at basketball camp, three high school varsity sports and of course college club and intramural teams… I played anything and everything that I could and loved it!

Love can lead to empowerment, which is exactly what we are celebrating today and everyday! How do sports empower Nayla?

“As a kid, I was the only girl in my youth basketball program and it was clear that the boys were not pleased with my participation. They tried to shut me out by not passing me the ball. At that point I could have whined and sulked or but instead, I improved my own skills, and showed them how much better the team was when they included me.  With the encouragement of my parents and coaches, I worked on my defense and learned to pick the pockets of the best ball handlers in the league. If they boys weren’t going to pass, I would get the ball myself. Once it was clear I could go on my own fast breaks, but I instead chose to pass to my teammates for easy baskets, they also started to see me on the floor!”

Specifically for New York, how do we stay with the mission of making sports accessible to women of all ages? This is definitely an open-ended question with many bullet points we can feature. Let’s hear what our two ladies had to say about NYC Social.

Nayla scoring a touchdown!

Ranya says,

“Volo City Kids Foundation plays a vital role, making free, quality sport experiences available to all kids. Being a coach to young girls and boys provides a tangible role model for girls to aspire to and see themselves advancing through sport. It is great to be a part of their growth and empower the girls in their sport experiences to carry on their development into other parts of their lives. ”

Nayla adds,

“After college, I recognized the tremendous impact that having the opportunity to play sports had on me and immediately sought out a volunteer opportunity to coach my own middle school girls team. Watching their skills and confidence develop over the course of that first season is what made me realize that I wanted to dedicate my career to providing opportunities for kids to play and learn sports. And now here I am running the Volo City Kids Foundation. By playing with NYC Social our adult members not only help fund free sports programs for kids but they also have the opportunity to volunteer and impact the next generation of athletes. Added benefit: if you coach with us, you get to play in our adult leagues for free!”

Women in sports these days have been breaking ground in making sure there’s no limits to how far ladies can go in their careers. We see more women coaching, becoming athletes, having leadership roles with sports organizations, and expanding their personal lives by participating in sports. But why is this diversity to important? Our Nayla says it perfectly. She says, “Similarly to any other industry, it is so valuable to have diversity of thought, experience and background. Limited representation means that the industry misses out on valuable contributions and insights.” Simply and admirably said.  

All of our women inspire us beyond the picture that words can paint in your mind. This is why we do what we do and we hope to inspire more ladies along the way. Are you a female interested in sports in any capacity but need some encouraging words to get started?  I will leave you with the advice of our Foundation’s President, Nayla.

“Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve to be there. There will always be doubters and detractors. Keep your eyes open for the supportive coaches, teammates and mentors and ignore the rest! ”

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