Mentone Girls’ Grammar has seen an increased interest in its innovative Sports Excellence Camp; a selective entry program designed to hone the skills and competitive edge of the School’s most promising and dedicated sportswomen and will expand the program to overseas destinations alongside its interstate camps.
Head of Sport, Libby Lewin, heads up the program and believes traditional stereotypical gender judgements of women in sport, particularly those dominated by men, can be overcome.
“While being conscious of the lack of media attention and unequal pay that professional female athletes receive, it’s imperative for us to highlight female sporting role models and provide our students with a wide range of activities – especially the ones that are conventionally male-dominated, such as AFL, rugby, hockey, water polo and martial arts,” says Ms Lewin.
The annual Sports Excellence Camp exposes students in Years 10 - 12 to the potential reality of being professional athletes and women in sport, allowing them to push their own boundaries - physically and mentally.
During the Term 1 break, students will attend a rigorous 5 day course at the Super Sports Centre in Queensland where they’ll participate in a number of challenging activities, including boxing, boot-camp, beach volleyball, weight training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), tennis, kayaking and more.
“We strive to foster, not only a culture of excellence, but a culture of participation by encouraging students of all ages and fitness levels to participate in some form of sport or activity. Students in Years 7 - 8 step out of their comfort zone to participate in AFL 9s, before joining our Years 9 -12 AFL team in the Girl Sport Victoria (GSV) competition. Our 2015 Sports Captain, Rebecca Neaves, even plays for Western Bulldogs now.
“Our Year 10 students also participate in self-defence classes which provides an opportunity to develop a greater awareness about their own strengths and physical power, as well as gaining assertiveness. This physical and mental self-awareness is then reiterated and built upon at our Sports Excellence Camp, aiming to develop strong, confident and independent women,” she said.
Due to the demand of the Sports Excellence Camp, Mentone Girls’ Grammar will be heading to California, USA in 2018 where students will have the opportunity to train with professional college teams.
“The Sports Excellence Camp has led to a more united front when it comes to training and competing in carnivals and team sports. Our senior students have excelled in swimming, water polo and hockey; with the core group of these students having attended the camps in 2015 and 2016. Our sports mascot, Matilda the Meerkat, is a very accurate representation of us in the sporting arena. We are small, we turn up, look around, and then we can be ferocious. Mentone girls are renowned for punching above their weight,” says Ms Lewin.