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Kristen Ingraham-Morgan won the Contribution to Children & Young People Award, sponsored by Lincoln Water Park, for the Strong Girl Squad Project at the Lincolnshire Sport & Physical Activity Awards 2022.
This award celebrates an individual, group or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to providing opportunities for children and young people to have a positive experience of physical activity. Particularly those who are working with children and young people who are currently less active and facing barriers to participating in physical activity.
Strong Girls Squad enables girls to have access to physical activity in a safe environment where they feel comfortable and confident to engage in exercise.
The project received many positive nominations, and the judges were impressed by the real impact it had made to the girls participating in the project, improving their physical fitness, but also supporting their mental health and building confidence. The passion and commitment that Kristen and her coaches put into the project deserved to be recognised.
"The Strong Girl Squad Project has really engaged my daughter and ignited her interest in fitness, the variety of skills they cover and confidence they build is excellent!"
mother of Strong Girls Squad participant
Kristen established Strong Girls Squad to provide girls in years 7 to 12, to have an opportunity to experience weightlifting and fitness in a supportive environment. The programme began with female strength and conditioning coaches going out to secondary schools across Lincolnshire to deliver sessions in how to lift weights.
"We found girls that age, never get an opportunity to learn how to lift weighs safely. A lot of boys in their class, their male counterparts have all been shown how to lift weights properly. Either their brother, their dad or their football coach takes them into the gym to show them. Girls don't get that opportunity, and we thought that was strange and wrong, so we wanted to level the playing field a bit."
Following on from the success of these in school sessions, The Strong Girls Squad Club was also set up as a Holiday Activities and Food programme (available for free for children and young people who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals). The club helps girls to get fit and active and make friends whilst educating them on nutrition and how to look after their bodies. Participants attending Strong Girl Club have access to clothing and footwear to participate in the club with the addition of access to key hygiene items. Kristen is passionate about this programme and empowering young girls through the project.
"We're teaching them about safe weightlifting and strength and conditioning. We're here to help them find physical strength, their mental strength, their emotional strength."
Hear Kristen speak about the project in the Award's video:
Find out more about the Strong Girls Project here.
Thanks for Lincoln Water Park for sponsoring the Contribution to Children & Young People's Award.