The evening consisted of open discussions on how together we can develop opportunities for all females at all levels and make paddlesports more inclusive for women. In attendance we had over 25 women who came from many different locations and disciplines, athletes and coaches, providers and clubs. The evening proved to be a very positive move in the right direction for all involved – certainly beginning to bridge the communication gap between many disciplines! All in attendance agreed that they would commit to representing this initiative and help to grow the visibility of females in paddlesports, continue to develop opportunities for women, encourage leadership among female members of all ages and attend the Leadership Journeys Training Course for developing Leadership and Mentoring Skills.
The process of selecting the group of ambassadors to help represent this initiative included sending a request for nominations to all of the technical discipline sub-committees, outdoor education and training centres, and a number of highly involved members. Suggestions were put forward of women who have made an impact or have strong potential to make an impact on female development in their community or in their discipline. The group of women were invited to attend the information evening on the Bridge the Gap initiative, where Emer, our Women in Sport lead presented the details alongside Moira Aston, out CEO and Lynda Byron from Leadership Journey’s, and board member. It was explained that Sport Ireland have allocated us funding to role out a leadership training programme which aims to develop a group of our strong female leaders in the community who would then help to develop four key areas: Coaching & Officiating, Leadership & Governance, Active Participation, and Visibility.