The Century Council has long recognized the value of sports in a young girl’s life. Our Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking program acknowledges that girls who play sports have higher self-esteem. The program is a student-to-student mentoring program that pairs middle school girls with high school girls who serve as mentors. This peer-to-peer mentoring program promotes leadership skills and positive decision-making among our nation's girls, which includes saying "no" to underage drinking.
An advocate for women in sports, our advisory board member Lisa Graham Keegan sat on the Title IX commission back in 2003. In 2007, The Century Council sponsored Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy’s Induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. We have proudly worked with such role models as:
- Natasha Watley, Two-time World Cup Champion and Olympic Medalist, softball
- Misty May-Treanor, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, beach volleyball
- Dara Torres, twelve-time Olympic Medalist, swimmer
- Gretchen Bleiler, professional snowboarder
- Julia Mancuso, most decorated Olympic female American alpine skier
- Mallory Weggemann, Paralympic medalist, swimmer
- Rebecca Soni, six-time Olympic medalist, swimmer
Most recently Aly Raisman, 2012 US Women’s Gymnastics Team Captain and two-time gold medalist signed on as our Ask, Listen, Learn spokesperson. Throughout the year, as an Ask, Listen, Learn superstar Aly will support this national campaign to say no to underage drinking through in-school presentations, national media opportunities, print materials in Scholastic Magazine, social media and online content at Ask Listen Learn. Aly will challenge kids on the interactive Ask, Listen, Learn educational game, providing an opportunity for middle school kids to learn about the negative consequences of underage drinking and benefits of making healthy decisions while they exercise.
Despite the fact that forty years have gone by since the passage of Title IX, boys continue to significantly outpace girls in sports participation. Yesterday we attended National Girls and Women in Sports media day on Capitol Hill to support the work of Girls, Inc.; the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport; the National Women’s Law Center; and the Women’s Sports Foundation. These organizations have worked for years to educate Members of Congress and the public about the importance of sports and the impact being a part of a team has on a young girl’s self-confidence and overall long-term health. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of obesity for adolescent girls (from The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Report, Catch the Ball.) These organizations are asking Members of Congress to support the High School Data Transparency Act, which would require schools to disclose the number of boys and girls playing sports and the resources allocated to boys’ and girls’ teams. Colleges and universities across the country disclose these numbers currently; this act would require high schools to do the same.
The Century Council continues to believe that a young girl’s participation in sports has a preventive effect on underage drinking as well as being good for a young athlete’s brain development and grades. Our Ask Listen Learn game encourages activity of both boys and girls in an effort to reach exercise goals for the day while also learning important facts on the risks of drinking underage and benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.