Black Women in Sport Foundation Celebrates 10th Year

By Staff

Athletic Management, 14.5, August/September 2002, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/am/am1405/bbblackwomen.htm

This fall, the Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF) will be hosting two events for the athletic community. The first, scheduled for September, is a three-day professional development event designed for coaches of color. The second will celebrate the Foundation’s 10th anniversary.

The coaching workshop will be held at Norfolk State University and is for female coaches of color in all sports. “We got a grant from the NCAA to hold what we’re calling ‘The Next Step,’” says Tina Sloan Green, President of the BWSF and former Temple University Head Women’s Lacrosse and Field Hockey Coach. “The purpose is to encourage women of color to go into coaching or try to move from assistant positions to head coach positions. The clinic will address what is needed to be successful as a coach and also the gender and racial issues that impact moving up. It’ll also cover relationship issues, balancing family and work, how to network, and how to advance through the system.”

Also on the BWSF’s slate this fall is its annual conference in Philadelphia, to take place on Oct. 11 and 12, titled “Celebrating The Achievement of Black Women In Sport.” Along with its focus on increasing the involvement of black women in all facets of athletics, much of the Foundation’s energies are directed toward youths of color. As such, the conference is designed to appeal to adult sport professionals, enthusiasts, and parents while also attracting the youth population.

This year’s conference will start on Friday with a health fair to draw school-aged children, followed later in the afternoon by a fund-raising auction. “We decided to start the event off with a health fair because health is an important benefit of sport,” says Sloan Green, who is also a professor in Temple’s College of Education. “We want to reach school-age children and their parents early on and get them actively involved in sport so we have a stronger population. By partnering with one of our sponsors, Inner City Games, we’re hoping to draw children to that event.”

Friday will conclude with a “Legends Reception” featuring those honored with the Foundation’s Legends Award in years past as well as this year’s honorees. According to Green, it is a powerful part of the conference’s events.

“We use that reception to recognize people of color who have made major contributions to the sport but normally wouldn’t receive recognition,” she says. “Some are local, and some are nationally renown. And it’s always an exciting event, because the college athletes and young student-athletes in attendance get to hear and see a little living history.” Past Legend Award winners include WNBA Vice President Renee Brown, Major League Baseball Vice President Wendy Lewis, and women’s golf pioneer Phyllis Meekins.

Day two will kick off with a report from the BWSF titled “The First 10 Years: Current Trends in Minority Participation in Sports,” followed by a selection of adult and youth workshops. Workshops are led by industry professionals, community sports advocates, and college athletes. Past topics have included Careers In Sports, Making a Transition as a Student-Athlete, Nutrition, Fitness, and the Student-Athlete, Climbing The Ladder to Administration, and Entrepreneurship.

Saturday will also feature a youth press conference. “That has been a really exciting event,” says Green, “because some of the celebrities sit at tables with about 10 to 12 youths. The children interview them and then collaborate on an article about that celebrity.

“The youth selected to take part are participants in our various programs across the country,” she continues. “The activity gives them an opportunity to see what an interview is like and pose the questions they really want to ask these speakers.”

But Green hopes the conference highlight will be the banquet. “Since it’s our 10th anniversary, we want to make the closing awards banquet really special,” she says. “The plans are kind of secret, but hopefully we’ll have a celebrity guest and review past Foundation highlights. We always have a dance for the children as well as some poetry readings and other activities for the adults.

“We also always give an Image award,” she continues. “And that goes to somebody who represents the Foundation’s ideals. Our board of directors selects the nominees. Past recipients have been Sue Levin, Nike’s former U.S. women’s brand director, Dawn Staley, and fitness expert Donna Richardson.”

Other items on the conference schedule include a book signing, jazz reception, and an informal networking reception. Registration for the conference is $150 for BWSF members and $200 for non-members. Reduced fees are available for students, seniors, groups, and those wishing to attend only the Saturday dinner or Friday Legends Reception. Registration for The Next Step is free, but space is limited.

For more information on both events or to register go to www.blackwomeninsport.org or call (888) 405-1773.