Skateboarding Org. Supporting Girls To Be Active Leaders Of Positive Change In Their Community

Get familiar with an organization that is putting the term “male-dominated” on notice – your days are numbered! Girls Riders Organization is a US-based non-profit that was founded to inspire, educate and support girls (of all ages) to be confident leaders of positive change. And as the name suggests, they do this through skateboarding, snowboarding, and other actions sports.

It is more than just an organization encouraging girls to get into skateboarding (which in and of itself wouldn’t be a bad thing). They take their advocacy to a place where girls can carry what they learn, and are empowered with, to other areas of their life.

GRO was founded by Courtney Payne-Taylor in 2006, who discovered skateboarding while going through a bout of depression, according to a feature on NBCnews.com.

“Skateboarding is completely out of the realm but once you start to experience that that kind of nervousness and that accomplishment after it, I think that’s what I really got hooked on. It gave me a feeling like I had a purpose in life,” she said.

As a result, she wanted to help other young girls grow up with a sense of value in the world and used skateboarding as a way to foster a community.

“Through all work GRO tells girls they are welcome, they are important, they are capable, and they matter,” says a description on the organization’s website.

“Through GRO Crews girls learn how to work together to plan and execute female action sports events and initiatives to increase accessibility and opportunities for girls locally. GRO Crews together represent a locally focused, nationally connected network able to create positive change in their communities and the world.”

With a rise in many organizations seeking to make a conscious shift in the way young girls are raised, erasing gender stigma and expectations, and evolving messages often thrust upon females when it comes to their bodies and lives, GRO is one part of an important eco-system of female empowerment we are going to see more of in society.

We’ve seen other female-driven skate organizations such as the Pink Helmet Posse, Girl Is Not A 4 Letter Word, and young riders like Sky Brown who are disrupting the skateboarding world which is closely identified with men and major labels right now.

When we see girls breaking barriers in the world of sports especially, we can recognize that it becomes about much more than simply trying to “compete with the boys” or prove something to the status quo. It is about showing the world that we need to fundamentally shift our way of thinking about the spaces girls and women occupy, and understand the value of encouraging them to be limitless in their ambitions and actions.

The politics often associated with women’s bodies and choices, closely aligned with the way advertising and media tells us that are inherent value comes from our external qualities, must be changed. Sports like skateboarding, which has typically been seen as an activity associated with fun, can strip away all of those societal burdens especially when a girl starts skating at a young age.

Thanks to the persistence of women like Courtney Payne Taylor, girls all across the US and Canada now get to be part of the growing GRO community and see what it’s like to hear messages of solidarity, empowerment and encouragement.

“They’re learning that internal belief itself and challenging themselves, and once they discover that they blossom,” she said.

If you are interested in becoming part of one of of the GRO crews, take a look at some of their upcoming events in a major city near you.

To learn more about the organization itself and see the impact it is having on young girls, watch the video below.


 

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  1. Pingback: This Feminist Skateboarding Collective Wants To Disrupt The White, Male-Dominated Sport - GirlTalkHQ

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