Three influential women who have succeeded in empowering young girls and women through sports in their respective communities were recognized for their achievements Friday as the 2016 Toyota Everyday Heroes at espnW: Women + Sports Summit.
Courtney Payne-Taylor’s Girls Riders Organization in Indiana inspires, educates and supports girls through action sports …
… We spoke to this year’s recipients about the impact of receiving the award, which includes a $10,000 grant, challenges they’ve faced as leaders of their organizations and the life lessons they hope to relay to the young girls in their programs.
espnW: What has been the biggest challenge when trying to achieve the goals that you set for your organization?
Payne-Taylor: A challenge for us in the action sports world is standing next to all these sports that have had so much strength for so long. One challenge for us has been helping the companies and the parents and the people that could support us understand that skateboarding can be a beautiful thing for the girls, and helping bring these new sports into the mindsets of this bigger world. We all have challenges and that’s the beauty of doing what we do.
espnW: Why is it important to focus on young girls and women as the target demographic for your organization?
Payne-Taylor: Sport and athleticism can change many lives. The sport that is for one girl is not necessarily the sport that will work for other girls. We just want to give girls as many options as we can to find their magic in themselves.
espnW: Outside of teaching sports, what life lessons to do you hope to teach the participants in your respective organizations?
Payne-Taylor: I think what it’s about is girls of all ages are beautiful beings of potential. They all have a gift they can bring to this world. Through the sports and through the organization we want to help them see that magic in themselves then be able to bring that gift. It’s learning that the achievements that you make in skateboarding, in a trick, should really teach you that your capability is not just in the sport that you’re realizing I can do this, but it’s in the entire world. In anything that you dream and anything that you wish, you’re capable of doing it. You’re worth it, it’s important that you’re on this stage to bring it — you are not alone.