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January 25, 2016

Girls reach for their dreams

GirlsJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Deslinn Rutan, 12, of Cincinnatus, gets a high-five from her spotter after ascending the climbing wall Saturday during the Girls Day Out event at the SUNY Cortland Student Life Center.

By LEANN HLEBICA
Staff Reporter
lhlebica@cortlandstandardnews.net

Hanging at the very top of a rock climbing wall at SUNY Cortland’s Adventure Center is a doughnut-shaped toy on a string.
Girls were told to not only reach for the stars at this year’s Girls’ Day Out, but for the doughnut, too.
Girls’ Day Out is an event that SUNY Cortland and the Cortland YWCA play host to each year that on Saturday gave 85 girls in grades 4 through 7 an opportunity to meet with Cortland professionals and athletes. The girls played volleyball, soccer, gymnastics/danced and climbed the rock wall in the new Student Life Center.
“This day is so important because it gives the girls a role model in the community,” Associate Athletic Director Courtney Wormuth said. The girls are put into groups and led by two or three SUNY Cortland athletes who guide them through the different sporting activities.
Erica Behler, a 25-year-old graduate assistant at the Adventure Center at SUNY Cortland, taught some of the girls how to ascend the climbing wall to reach the doughnut.
“This is an important day for these girls, it’s a different atmosphere and the girls are given the chance to be brave,” Behler said.
Twelve-year-old Nicole Wood of Syracuse said she loves to climb and wanted to try to go as far as she could up the wall.
On her first try she only made it a quarter of the way up the wall, but on her second try, Wood was more daring and made it more than halfway up the 42-foot wall.
“It was hard to try to find where to go once you were climbing,” Wood said.
Cortland police Sgt. Elizabeth Starr and Officer Kim Lawrence were among 15 professionals teaching the girls aspects of their jobs. Starr showed how she uses fingerprinting equipment and also let them try on the bulletproof vest. She explained that the material used in the vest is meant to fit to an individual’s body, providing flexibility.
Jaclynn Nate and Aleigha Temple asked questions about the equipment. They were curious to see why the officers were required to carry so much. Nate pointed at a notebook on the table and asked why they needed it.
Starr explained that once police officers come to a scene, they have to interview witnesses or write down specific details.
“I think it’s so cool,” Nate said, her eyes wide staring at handcuffs on the table, “I love looking at all the tools.”

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