“GUM is empowering to girls and to the entire ultimate community.”
This quote from Tori, a high school participant at the Girls’ Ultimate Movement (GUM) clinic at the 2018 College Championships in Milwaukee, Wis., reflects the tremendous impact that GUM has had on the ultimate community.
GUM has been an instrumental force on the steady increase in girls’ participation in ultimate, and is committed to empowering girls to become leaders through the sport of ultimate. Since GUM’s inception in 2014, female membership has had a larger percentage increase than its male counterpart. The number of current female members has increased by more than 7 percent compared to this time last year, a growth of over 1,000 players! At this pace, the number of female members at the end of 2018 will be the largest it’s ever been.
Trent Dillon, a Live Ultimate Ambassador and one of the GUM clinic leaders in Milwaukee, recognizes the importance of clinics like the ones GUM provides in offering opportunities for girls to play ultimate and participate in sports.
“I do think that making this an inclusive environment for women is a good thing for the community and broader modern society,” stated Trent.
He also touched on how playing sports helped build confidence and provide networking and leadership opportunities. “If I didn’t have that, if there wasn’t a space for me simply because of my gender, that seems messed up.”
Tori had her ultimate skills put to the test at the clinic. From precision throws with moving targets to short/deep cuts to defensive slides, Tori experienced advanced training that she couldn’t wait to begin practicing on her own. Her favorite aspect of the clinic was how spirited everyone was and how willing they were to teach her new skills to improve her game.
“I really liked the encouragement that everybody brought to the clinic,” said Tori. “[I] really enjoyed the community we made.”
The same is true for how she feels about ultimate overall. She loves the community and loves improving her game by learning new skills any chance she gets.
Tori’s amazing experience during the clinic is music to the ears of Nichole Kwee, a GUM and Learn to Play clinic organizer who helped organize the clinics at the World Ultimate Club Championships this past July.
“My favorite part about helping out with these youth clinics is getting to be a part of small, positive, impactful moments in a child’s life” relayed Nichole. One of her favorite memories working a clinic was seeing two kids show tremendous growth in spirit and conflict resolution. After a contentious argument that led to a spirit time out, the two kids took what they learned from the time out and had a positive interaction over the next call and the rest of the scrimmage.
The conflict resolution the two kids displayed is something that is hard to come by in other sports, which is why Nichole firmly believes in the impact ultimate can have on a child’s adolescent growth. She herself has taken away many lessons from the sport and applied them to her life off the field.
“Ultimate has taught me so much about leadership, confidence, giving and receiving feedback, and the importance of a growth mindset – the feeling that your actions matter because your accomplishments come from hard work, and natural talent is just a starting point. I find myself taking on leadership roles at work as an engineer, and ultimate has given me the confidence to be successful and empower new leaders.”
After she graduates from high school, Tori aspires to play college ultimate and then continue at the club level. Her drive to continue playing ultimate will benefit her, according to Nichole, by developing in her a Spirit of the Game outlook moving forward.
“We’re giving kids the tools to be calm, positive and effective in managing conflict, which is a skill that will serve them well in life.”