By Nichole Boehnke
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Big Rapids, Mich. – The Ferris State University Athletics Department helped introduce young children to the world of intercollegiate athletics during the second "Women in Sports Day" event held recently during the month of October on the FSU campus.
As part of the event, young kids and their parents were invited to take part in a full evening of activities. They had an opportunity to watch live women's soccer, volleyball and softball action while traveling across campus on the Bulldog Bus and eat at the Rock Café.
Senior Sami Boyle was assigned leadership of this event through her marketing and event internship with Jon Coles and the Ferris State Athletics Department. In addition to organizing this event, Boyle also works with the women's soccer team on various promotional events, which provided a correlation to the event.
"Women in Sports Day is one of the biggest projects I'll be given through my internship," Boyle said. "This event was to promote a healthy lifestyle as well as show positive role models for girls."
About 40 people were in attendance, including parents, for the day's schedule. The ages of the participants ranged between two and 13 years old with the majority from the local Big Rapids Community.
With the help of senior Kara Hess, a women's basketball student-athlete, Boyle was able to help make the day a success. The day was planned to feature the women's soccer, softball and volleyball teams in home competition.
Coles, the associate athletics director who handles marketing and event management for FSU Athletics, hopes word of mouth will travel far and the unique "Women in Sports Day" event will continue to grow every year.
The day began shortly after the close of the school day and ended after the conclusion of the evening volleyball contest. The kids toured the locker rooms and received autographs. Booths were also set for the girls to try on jerseys and equipment along with taking pictures.
Coles said supporting the women's athletics programs and fostering participation for young girls is important. He was pleased with the outcome of the event and the great experience the participants had.
"I feel very strongly about the educational role of athletics; we have a great platform from which to speak," he said. "We have excellent role models and extremely skilled young women competing for us and that is evident thru an event like this."
Through events like "Women in Sports Day, Ferris State Athletics continues to expose young girls to the female student-athletes and provide support for Title IX. This event also helps drive attendance to home women's athletics events.
Along with the action, the girls in attendance were also given the opportunity to participant in a shootout on the field at halftime of the soccer match against Walsh. They enjoyed the campus dining experience at The Rock.
"Sami Boyle and Kara Hess were instrumental in the day and we wouldn't have been able to host the event without their efforts," Coles said.
Along with the "Women In Sports Day" event, Boyle also designs flyers for upcoming games and helps coordinate halftime events. She recently helped with the women's soccer team's Breast Cancer Awareness game against Northwood and is also focusing on "Just for Kicks," which will take place as part of this Sunday's (Nov. 3) final women's soccer regular-season home contest versus Lake Erie.
As part of the contest, the Bulldogs will help support another wonderful cause by accepting donations of gently used pairs of shoes, which will in turn be donated to those in need. Those who donate will receive free admission into the game.