January 30, 2012
Girls shown future potential
Annual event widens their horizons by introducing career paths
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Paige Dillon, 13, of Locke, gets a quick violin lesson from music teacher Jeannine McGreevy, left, on Saturday during Girls’ Day Out at SUNY Cortland’s Park Center.
At Girls’ Day Out this year, the sky was the limit.
That was the message Girls’ Day Out organizers wanted about 100 girls to take from the annual event, held for its 11th year Saturday and cosponsored by the Cortland YWCA and SUNY Cortland at the college’s Park Center.
The daylong event encourages exercise and healthy living and introduces girls to possible career paths — something YWCA Executive Director Amy Simrell said meshes well with the YWCA’s message.
“Exposing girls to nontraditional activities widens their horizon,” Simrell said. “It lets them say, ‘Maybe I could do that.’”
Parents said they hoped their daughters took that to heart at this year’s Day Out.
A highlight of Saturday afternoon was a career fair, where girls met with women in various professions, and learned what it took to get there. There were female teachers, lawyers, a bank executive, a musician and a Cortland police officer.
Bernadette Travis, of Homer, brought her 10-year-old daughter Emily to the event. Travis said it not only seemed fun, but would teach the girls lessons for success.
“We talk about, is there really a guy job? Is there really a girl job? And there really isn’t,” Travis said.
Travis fixes computers for a living and says technology easily could be construed as a male-dominated field. She said she taught her daughter to look past such perceptions.
“There are some customers who don’t want to deal with a woman, there are some who don’t want to deal with a man, so it doesn’t matter what you are for what you do,” Travis said.
The event also sent the girls to try out different athletic activities throughout the day, including volleyball, yoga, gymnastics, rock climbing and swimming. YWCA staff and SUNY Cortland athletes volunteered to run the activities.
“The age group of fifth- to eighth-grade girls is a very active age group,” Simrell said. “They have many options in front of them.”
Emily Toti, 12, said she is already enrolled in gymnastics, but she had just as much fun playing volleyball during Girls’ Day Out.
“We got to play volleyball with the college students and I liked to see them show me how to spike,” Toti said.
She added that she might have found a possible future career, after meeting two lawyers.
“My mom says I’d be a good lawyer because I argue a lot,” Toti said.
About 30 more girls from Cortland County participated Saturday, versus last year. Simrell said the enthusiastic volunteers are essential to making Girls’ Day Out a success each year.
The YWCA’s event grew after its first few years from being career-oriented and merged with the college’s annual athletics events to celebrate women in sports during the early winter, Simrell said.
“It’s made a really great event of nontraditional career exposure, athletic exposure and health,” she said.
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