Girls hone their sports skills at event dedicated to sports

They threw like girls. They hit like girls. And that was the point.

Close to 40 girls from grades 2 to 12 spent Wednesday morning fine-tuning their skills in various sports such as volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, soccer, tennis and field hockey.

The Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada along with the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada sponsored a Girl Sports Day, open to girls throughout the community, where they were exposed to different sports workshops and taught about nutrition.

"We wanted to give them the opportunity to do something other than just play with their dolls and braid each other's hair," said Darnell Dean, sports coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club. "It's so the girls can feel a part of an activity where there is sweat involved."

Dean said in regular sports activities there is usually about a 35 percent participation rate of girls but many more turned out for the workshop.

"This is the largest group of girls I've seen participate in one of our sports activities," he said.

One of the reasons was because there were no boys involved.

"It's fun because the boys aren't teasing you because you're a girl," said Pammi Putnam, 11. "We have a right to play sports, too."

Although girls have the right to play sports, many haven't played and don't know which ones they like.

"It's important for the girls in our community to try out all different sports," said Melinda Fowler, director of arts and education at the Boys & Girls Club. "They get a little sample and find out what they're interested in and what they want to do."

Dean said he hopes to extend the program to include more girls from the community and to combine with the Boys & Girls Club in Reno.

"The girls are all really excited about doing something on their own," he said. "They want to have the freedom to learn."

Makala Tronson, 11, said she was impressed that she actually got some playing time on the tennis court and even personal instruction from tennis coach Bob Phelps.

"It's really cool," Tronson said. "Boys can be so annoying. They treat us like we can't play as good as them but we can."

Diane Christensen, director of the Girl Scouts, said she considered the workshop a success.

"Sports are an important part of girls' lives," she said. "The girls had a great time and they learned new skills and met new friends."

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