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Tessa Virtue encourages young women to stay active at Woodstock, Ont. conference

(Left to Right) McKenna Hall, Emma Jull, Tessa Virtue, and Haley Cocker and the second annual Grow Girls event in Woodstock. Sawyer Bogdan / 980 CFPL

Olympic figure skater Tessa Virtue was in Woodstock today to speak at a girls’ empowerment conference about the importance of staying active.

Virtue spoke to a room full of hundreds of teens involved in the new Grow Girls initiative at Calvary Church in Woodstock Thursday morning.

“These stats that have come out with 50 per cent of girls dropping out of sports when they hit puberty and nine out of 10 girls when they graduate high school not meeting the minimum requirements for physical activity is unacceptable,” said Virtue.

“That narrative needs to change.”

READ MORE: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir receive honorary degrees from Western University

 

Virtue has joined forces with FitSpirit, an organization aimed at helping teen girls be physically active.

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Click to play video 'Figure skating stars Rock the Rink at Peterborough Memorial Centre' Figure skating stars Rock the Rink at Peterborough Memorial Centre
Figure skating stars Rock the Rink at Peterborough Memorial Centre – Nov 14, 2019

Grow Girls is a student-led initiative that started a year ago, which aims to empower girls through a day-long conference with speakers and different sessions.

“I know as a Grade 9 [student], I was vulnerable and I definitely could have benefited from having all these supports in my community and being able to meet all these girls and community members who would have helped me through this time,” said Emma Jull, co-organizer for the 2019 event.

“In my own experience, playing sports has played a huge role in my mental health and connecting with other girls,” said another co-organizer for the 2019 event, Haley Cocker.

READ MORE: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir receive honorary degrees from Western University

Jull and Cocker have taken the reins to expand this year’s conference in order to welcome more students.

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Virtue said Initiatives like Grow Girls deserve to be heard because they are encouraging the next generation of girls to stay active.