Currently, girls represent 20% of NICA’s overall national student-athlete participation. NICA GRiT (Girls Riding Together) seeks to increase that number significantly over the next five years. The GRiT Program is NICA’s effort to recruit and retain more girls and female coaches in NICA programs.
Activities are focused on increasing girls awareness of NICA programs by offering girls-only social and riding opportunities for girls, moms, friends, siblings and female coaches. GRiT Camps and GRiT student-athlete Ambassador programs are available in some leagues as well!
GRiT recognizes the need to get more girls on bikes. GRiT’s goal is to empower female student-athlete’s to make their mark, on or off the bike. All NICA leagues have an individual GRiT Coordinator to implement programming from the NICA GRiT Tool box and events at the league level.
Girls Riding Together is NICA’s initiative to increase female participation to 33% overall by 2023. With help from the Walton Family Foundation, and a number of other sponsors and NICA leagues across the country, GRiT’s mission is to provide fair treatment, equal access, opportunity, advancement and elimination of barriers to encourage participation for all.
NICA is making a concentrated effort to increase the number of girls and female coaches in NICA programs by focusing on creating a more welcoming environment for girls to join through girls-only events, rides, camps, clinics and socializing opportunities.
Why do NICA leagues need a special program to recruit more girls and females if NICA programming is inclusive and equal?
Although NICA has been successful in providing equal opportunities to all once participating in our programs, we can only be truly equal when we address many females need different things to feel welcome and invited into NICA programs.
Girls tend to thrive in NICA programs once they join. Where NICA has to improve is in our recruiting and inviting girls into our programs. NICA must focus on equity – giving girls and females the experiences and opportunities to ensure they feel welcome and invited to participate in NICA programs – if it is to increase our overall female participation.
To address the participation challenge, the GRiT Program recognizes that girls and women often join sports and activities for different reasons than boys and men, especially in a male-dominated sport like mountain biking. GRiT focuses on both recruitment and retention to ensure female riders keep riding after their first year.
Without GRiT, we are missing a significant opportunity to offer girls and women the amazing experiences and empowerment that mountain biking provides. To empower all our participants to seek inclusivity and equality
To make everyone feel welcome. To make mountain biking equally accessible to all.
If you would like to host a GRiT event in your area or have a need for one, please reach out to Yadi (firstname.lastname@example.org) . We will try to make it happen! It could be a GRIT ride, mechanical hour, social, all kinds of ideas welcome too.