Kickin’ with girl power

Nika Duncan (left) and Naudia Simmons, both 11, do warm-up kicks with other 9- to 12-year-olds Thursday as kickboxing instructor Clay Smalley leads during Girl Power 2000 at Bowling Green Parks and Recreations gymnasium. Photo by Miranda Pederson

The girls kept up with the exercise routine as best as they could, often breaking out in freestyle dance and singing at the top of their young lungs to songs like N Sync and Nellys Girlfriend and the Ying Yang Twins Say I Yi Yi.This is too hard! a Girls Inc. girl exclaimed Thursday as kickboxing instructor Clay Smalley led them through a series of punches, blocks, kicks, sit-ups and push-ups.This is not too hard, Smalley said as he walked through the group checking each girls progress.Its exactly the lesson that Caveland areas Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana and Girls Inc. wanted their young charges to learn with hard work and belief in themselves, they can do anything they want.The class was part of Girl Power 2002, an annual program designed to empower girls and promote women in nontraditional careers. This years theme was I Am the Greatest, taken from the soundtrack of the movie Ali. We’ve been doing it for three years. Its like a yes-you-can type day, said Felicia Bland, service and program assistant for the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, Caveland area. We want them to know its not just a mans world anymore.The program also provides other opportunities.Its a great opportunity for them to learn what Girl Scouting is all about because its something that they may normally not be a part of, said Patty Alford, Girls Inc. executive director. They may not have a troop in their area or may have a hard time getting a troop leader. It also exposes them to different people in the community who can talk to and encourage them.The girls ages 5-12 started off the morning with a question-and-answer session, pep rally and games with WUBT-FM 101.1 The Beat on-air personality KeKe The First Lady.

Then they split into age-appropriate groups and listened to several speakers, including Western Kentucky University head Lady Toppers coach Mary Taylor Cowles, Faye Martin, who was the first African American to be crowned Miss Southern Kentucky, and Anne Grubbs of Community Education.

In one room, Diane Eakles, a registered nurse working as a health educator for the Barren River District Health Department, was teaching the 5- and 6-year-olds about caring and sharing with others from a coloring book called I Can Choose. She allowed the girls to show their versions of happy, sad, angry and surprised faces. Which one of these faces makes you feel good? Eakles asked.Happy! the girls shouted.What can you do if somebody doesn’t have any friends? Eakles asked.Be their friend, one girl said.Eakles said she was pleased that her group caught on to much of what she wanted them to learn.I wanted them to know how to feel good about themselves, she said.Carmen Wright, 10, and 11-year-old Naudia Simmons agreed that their favorite part of the day was spent with KeKe The First Lady.The girls also caught on to the lesson of the day.We learned how to believe in ourselves, Naudia said.


Staff Writer (2002, April). Kickin’ with girl power. Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved from