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Run Towards It: Empowering young female athletes in competition (video)

  • / Updated:
  • Megan Hatch 

High school girls’ soccer teams from Seneca Falls, Geneva, Marcellus, Newark, Dryden, Lyons and Auburn came together to “Run Towards It” this past weekend.

The Empowerment Project Initiative from the Bonafiglia Family Foundation helped organize a new event this year called “Run Towards It: Inspiring Fearless Leaders.”

The event brings female athletes from grades seven through 12 together for an inspiring weekend of sports and keynote speakers while also building awareness of and visitors to Seneca Falls.

Run Towards It: Inspiring leadership on and off the field

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What is Run Towards It all about?

Daniele Bonafiglia Wirth, along with the help of Heather Zellers, Judy Sinicropi Wentzel and Hannah Brown Trice, came up with the idea for this two-day event. It was based on a desire to bring inspirational people together to inspire young people.

“When we saw that Mia Hamm was being inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame, we thought what a perfect opportunity. To bring together soccer and fun with two days full of inspiration and team building for young female student-athletes,” said Bonafiglia Wirth.

“This is our first year and we’re very excited to kick things off. Our hope is that we continue to do this event for many years to come.”

Not only did female athletes compete in soccer games but workshop sessions on leadership, team building, health, and self-esteem.

They were led by renowned mental skills coach, Dr. Colleen Hacker, and wellness education expert Dr. Karen McConnell.

“Vendor Village” also included local vendors from around the area including Fall Street Brewing, Greywood Flower Farm, It’s a Wonderful Bakery and more.

Soccer and female empowerment

At the Mynderse Academy campus, approximately 200 female athletes, their coaches and 100 spectators showed up to the event.

Bonafiglia Wirth said that the goals of this event were to empower female athletes and bring awareness to the history of Seneca Falls.

“We wanted to share an inspiring weekend with young female athletes to put them in front of incredible mentors while hopefully building self-esteem, leadership skills, and teamwork,” said Bonafiglia Wirth. “We wanted to bring greater awareness to all of the strong women’s history that’s in Seneca Falls.”

Workshopping mental health and body image

Dr. Hacker said her workshop sessions aimed at refining female athletes’ mental toughness and developing mental skills so that they can achieve their potential.

“We’re just focusing on a few key principles of going from good to great of separating where they are now to where they could be,” said Dr. Hacker.

Dr. McConnell’s workshop taught athletes about body image and to embrace body positivity and positive affirmations.

“It’s a major cause of anxiety and it can lead to other mental health issues. My session is focused on having the girls reflect on how they talk to themselves about their bodies,” said Dr. McConnell.

“How they could use affirmations and use positive self-talk to think differently about themselves. To uplift each other and their team so that they can have more success collectively.”

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