Rebecca Clark, For The Miami Student

Miami University’s field hockey team has been selected to participate in the “You Go Girl!” initiative, a program that introduces the sport to young girls who are in at-risk situations in urban environments.

Chip Rogers, the assistant coach for Miami’s field hockey team, said he is excited that Miami has been offered to participate in the program.

“Miami has been among the leaders in field hockey and community service initiatives,” Rogers said.  “We’ve helped to start a bunch of different programs. We also are in a location that is prime for this.  We have Cincinnati right down the street.”

The “You Go Girl!” program, which was started by the United States Olympic Committee, is geared toward girls between the ages of 10 and 18.  College athletes, including some of Miami’s own field hockey players, will introduce the sport to the girls in these non-traditional communities, hopefully encouraging them to continue with field hockey through high school and college, as well as learn leadership and teamwork skills.

Jen Willis, president of the Southwest Ohio Field Hockey League said she, is looking forward to seeing how the program will help these young girls.

“Most people don’t pick up field hockey until their freshman year of high school,” Willis said. “It will be good to introduce the game to a younger audience.”

One of the most important aspects of the initiative, according to Willis, is giving the younger girls a good female role model in their lives.

“Young athletes are able to see these girls engaging in healthy activities and they’ll have a strong, confident role model in their life,” she said.

Sophomore Ali Froede, a Miami field hockey player, said she cannot wait for the program to begin.  

“I am mostly looking forward to working directly with the athletes,” Froede said.  “It will be a rewarding experience teaching them field hockey and watching their skills grow as well as being a positive influence in their lives.”

Rogers said she believes the program will also open up many doors to the young athletes.

“Athletics are such a great vehicle to help women develop self esteem and self confidence, as well as learning how to be part of a team,” Rogers said.  “Getting out there and being active will help these girls develop physically and have good mental health.”

Willis also said she hopes that the program will provide younger girls with a wide variety of opportunities.

“A neat component is getting specifically into urban environment and using sports as an opportunity to build character,” she said.  

Once Miami receives confirmation, the program will start as soon as possible, and Rogers said she hopes the program will continue for a while.

“It will definitely last throughout the summer, but there is no ending point,” Rogers said. “The idea is that we want to be able to have things grow on a regular basis.”