Red Dirt RubyConf 2011

  • Keynote
    Aaron Patterson
    Open source contributions include:
    ARel, Nokogiri, and Mechanize
    Aaron Patterson - AT&T Interactive
  • Keynote
    Dr Nic Williams
    Open source contributions include:
    Hudson.rb, RoR Textmate Bundle, and ChocTop
    Dr Nic Williams - Engine Yard
  • Conference Themes
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    ´╗┐Coastal Outreach Soccer now to include girl teams Shawn Williams is taking the Coastal Georgia community by storm, encouraging young females in the area to, by all means, play like a girl. Since launching the Coastal Outreach Soccer program in 2004, Williams has seen the program take a strong hold of young male participants, encouraging boys to not only get out and get active, but also exposing them to new life pathways through college visits, guest speakers and field trips. As Williams often puts it, the program is truly a game changer in the lives of many of its male middle and high school players. But about a year ago, Williams and his volunteer team recognized a huge void. Several girls had signed on to play in the boys league and excelled on the field. But overall, there is a vast emptiness throughout the community, and nation as a whole, when it comes to athletic and educational opportunities for girls. Statistically, Williams said, half of all male students participate in high school sports, while only about one fourth of female students don a jersey. That is a problem, as athletes at any skill level are more likely to develop team work, communication and motivation skill sets needed to earn a diploma and move forward with a well rounded, successful and healthy lifestyle as an adult, he said. There are a number of factors why young women skip out of community based activities, such as having to care for younger siblings. The issue has become so prevalent nationally that Nike has launched the Girl Effect campaign, a worldwide movement to encourage females to take on leadership roles and break long standing cycles of poverty through sports, education and improved personal health. Locally, Williams is working to do the same. "Girls are missing out on the opportunity to gain the tools they need to be productive, happy and educated members of the community," Williams said. "We realized that and we are working to make changes, starting with this soccer program. Soccer is just a part of the equation, though. It's about what being part of a team can mean, what these girls can gain from setting goals and being exposed to a world outside their backyard. You remember that movie, 'A League of Their Own,' where women play baseball and they really grow as individuals? Well, this is like that, but with soccer." Like the male version of the outreach program, the female side will place older students on traveling soccer teams, where they will take trips from Brunswick to Atlanta and other areas of the state for competitive games. They also will go on college visits. Younger girls, ages 6 to 11 years old, will stay in house, playing local games, but their experiences will be no less influential, Williams said. Four volunteers have stepped up to lead the girls team, with Schaneille Dawson, a graduate of the soccer outreach program as a player on a former boys team, spearheading the soccer side, and Kendra Rowe taking the reins of the community development and activity side of the project. Both will work to cheer on the female teams and host guest speakers, primarily in the science, technology, engineering and math arenas, Williams said. The major focus will be at risk youth, those who come from low income families and who are most likely to drop out of high school. The program is primarily aimed at residents in public housing properties, where parents or guardians tend to put less emphasis on education and future careers. A program such as the soccer outreach nike shoes heel spurs is a key way to show young minds of both genders a nike shoes id world beyond their often limited viewpoints. "This program is meant to help these girls, as it has for the boys, be active and healthy, but also meet with successful members of the community and beyond who can expose them to possible career options and opportunities they may not have even known existed," Williams said. Williams and his crew hosted a social to bring together potential players and inform them about the program. More than 20 middle and high school girls showed up, and Williams expects more to become involved in coming weeks. "The girls themselves act as recruiters, getting their friends to join as the season moves on. Like with the boys league, it grows over time," Williams said, noting that during the summer months, players will be on causal teams, with formulated teams to come this fall. "Our goal is to be all over this community, to inspire and encourage all our players, especially those in need, with the resources and mentors they need to develop full lives and create healthy futures." 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