Although its been in British Columbia for more than five years, Sole Girls is finally making its way to Chilliwack.
Aimed at empowering tween girls aged six to 12, Sole Girls combines physical activity and “mentHERship” to create positive, uplifting experiences that will help mould the next generation of females into healthy, strong, confident women.
“(Our activities) build that team mentality,” explained Nicole Stetz, who’s the licensee and head coach for the Fraser Valley Sole Girls group.
“For us, support and enthusiasm is what we’re learning to celebrate, whether it’s cheering on your team, friends, family, or self … it’s about being excited for ourselves and others.”
Slightly different than other youth organizations, Sole Girls runs programs and camps throughout the year instead of having regular weekly or monthly meetings. And mostly what they do occurs outdoors.
Lasting for nine weeks, Stetz explains how the Sole Girls programming teaches invaluable life skills like self-confidence and positive peer interactions.
“We start with an empowering discussion about many different topics that affect tweens in their day-to-day life: confidence, self-esteem, body image, stress, and anxiety … and through the nine week sessions we train to run a 5 km fun run.
A life-long athlete, Stetz grew up dancing, but eventually found joy in running. “A few years ago I really turned to running as a source of clearing my head … and fell in love with it all over again.”
At its core, Sole Girls “is about being outside and (taking in all) the health benefits of being outside. It has positive impacts for your physical and mental health, especially running, (which) is really effective for positive mental health,” Stetz added.
A recent addition to the team, 32-year-old Stetz says she only heard about Sole Girls in 2017 when she attended a networking event where founder Amy Wiles was speaking.
“(But) I knew I needed to be a part of this someway, somehow,” recalled Stetz. “It’s so important for our girls to have a place where they can be themselves, especially since there are so many outside influences these days trying to get you to be anything other than yourself.”
Although she lives in Langley, Stetz wants her branch of Sole Girls to make a difference for as many Fraser Valley children as possible. “I brought it to the Fraser Valley to give back to the community that I grew up in and love.
“My grandparents live in Chilliwack, I’m there all the time and love it: it’s one of my most favourite places,” added the Sole Girls LeadHER.
Also, working for the Township’s children’s recreation division, Stetz says she sees a lot of need for organizations like Sole Girls for both girls and boys.
“There’s actually a Sole Boys in Vancouver,” said Stetz. “I’m just trying to figure out how to bring it to the Fraser Valley.”
And while she doesn’t have any children of her own to enroll in the organization, Stetz says working with children has become her calling in life.
“Their creativity and curiosity, and just the joy they have for the simple things in life that is good for my soul and heart to be around them.”
Since signing on as a licensed Sole Girls coach in late 2017, Stetz began organizing programs and camps in Langley, and this spring ran two nine-week sessions for Sardis Elementary.
Now it’s time for Chilliwack’s first Sole Girls day camp, which is for girls seven to 12. Scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7, Stetz says the event is sure to be an enjoyable one.
“It’s going to be a full day of the girls learning what makes them unique and celebrating that (while) having fun moving and being active,” said Stetz. “I’m going to empower them to go out and share their uniqueness to make the world a better place … and share love, which the world can always use more of.”
Chilliwack’s one-day Sole Girls summer camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Twin Rinks Ice Arena (5725 Tyson Road). Registration can be completed online through the Eventbrite listing, and costs $65, which includes a snack (parents are asked to pack an additional snack and nutritious lunch).
For more information, please email Nicole Stetz at SoleGirlsLangley@hotmail.com.