Living the Spirit and the Dream of NAGWS

Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Living the Spirit and the Dream of NAGWS


Abstract

The Rachel Bryant Lecture Award was established in 1989 in honor of Rachel Bryant, a pioneer and architect in the field of sport for girls and women. Bryant served NAGWS as Executive Director from 1950-1971, providing strong leadership and encouraging futuristic thinking and planning. The recipient of this award is an individual who continues to carry on the spirit of this remarkable woman who gave so much to NAGWS and to the world of girls and women in sport (2010 Rachel Bryant Lecture and Awards Program, p. 2).

The lecture is published in the format in which it was delivered at the NAGWS Rachel Bryant Lecture and Awards Program at the 2010 AAHPERD National Convention in Indianapolis, IN. Written from a very personal perspective, this lecture includes a brief overview of Rachel Bryant's legacy, the subjectively 'lived' sport experiences of the author, concerns regarding the future of girls and women in sport, and the direction NAGWS is taking as an organization.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Shawn Ladda for the gracious introduction and to each of you for attending this session. I am so very honored and humbled to have been chosen the 2010 Rachel Bryant Lecturer. This is indeed an honor that touches my heart deeply since the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) and its predecessor, the Division for Girls and Women in Sport (DGWS), its mission and the strong women leaders who believed in sporting opportunities for girls and women have been such an integral part of my personal and professional life.

Introduction

The preparation of this presentation was a daunting task, because I believe so many other women could be speaking with you today and so many different 'voices' NEED to be heard at this time. This includes those women who have given their time, energy, and personal spirit to NAGWS; those who have come long before me as well as those of my peers who deserve to be acknowledged and heard. Among them, those with whom I have worked most closely and those who afforded me the opportunity of "special assignments" within NAGWS, including Dr. Jan Rintala, Dr. Sharon Shields, Dr. Ketra Armstrong, Dr. Athena Yiamouyiannis, and also those women who led this organization before them, Dr. Doris Corbett, Dr. Carolyn Mitchell, Dr. Sue Durrant, and the numerous other women whose voices echo the same call for social justice and expanded opportunities for girls and women in sport. It is these women whose voices you should be hearing now. I am merely a beneficiary--a recipient of their wisdom, actions, and concern for social justice. Perhaps for this one moment, I am an instrument--a carrier of their legacy wherein hopefully theirs and my voice will be heard.

I truly do recognize the important responsibility connected with this lecture award and it is in that spirit that I begin my presentation. A few points will be noted about the preparation for this presentation and Rachel Bryant will be offered. Next, I will relate a few of my own personal sport experiences, utilizing a very subjective interpretation. I will then note some concerns I have regarding sport participation for girls and women and conclude with where NAGWS is going as an organization. Reflected in this Rachel Bryant Lecture is my spirit and dreams that I hope girls and women in sport will realize. All of this shouldn't take but a few hours - so I'll talk fast!

In the midst of my preparations for this award lecture, I had the pleasure of reading upon Dr. Camille O'Bryant's recommendation, Dr. Nancy Ward well's 1979 dissertation titled "Rachel E. Bryant: Contributions to Physical Education and Girls and Women's Sports. This was a wonderful suggestion, because the insights gained from this work were invaluable as I was able to follow the life and contributions of Rachel Bryant and add to my understanding of the important history of NAGWS. The experience made this award even more meaningful.

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