Rural communities are great at coming together to improve lifestyles for their members. This rings true in Gippsland, where over 1,000 women have been encouraged to get involved in ongoing sports programs through GippSport’s Gippy Girls Can movement.
If the name sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because the GippSport movement was purposely created to support the This Girl Can – Victoria campaign, but localised in the Gippsland region. The campaign has encouraged ongoing community involvement in physical activities by promoting and celebrating local Gippsland women being active; wherever, whenever or however they choose, busting the myth that you either have to be an athlete or in peak physical shape to get moving. GippSport motivates women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds to come out and get involved in physical activity.
GippSport build a community
VicHealth research indicates that 52% of women fear being judged while being physically active. GippSport’s solution? To promote a culture within the community that celebrates women and their strengths.
GippSport Executive Director Daniel said, “we directly leveraged VicHealth’s state-wide campaign, localised it by playing on Gippslander’s parochialism, matched it up with a heap of new low/no cost activities and aimed to create a community where our ‘Gippy Girls’ could come together and celebrate other Gippy Girls being active.”
GippSport actively developed a community, both within the local environment and online. They also listened to what women wanted, and introduced a range of new programs, from hiking, to stand up paddle boarding, to netball.
Now their biggest challenge is catering to the huge demand!
Inspiring mums to get active
Parenthood can have a real impact on how much physical activity a person engages in. Whether they’re in a primary carer’s role or working to provide, being active is often the last thing parents prioritise. This is why it was important to GippSport to make sure the activities on offer could involve both mums and their children.
GippSport encouraged women like Hayley to get involved in sporting programs. Although incredibly nervous at first, she pushed through and hasn’t looked back since.
Hayley said, “I avoided getting involved in a sport for so long, as I was anxious about meeting new people and being judged physically after having three children. Now I’m in my 30s I’ve realised I just needed to take that first step. I put myself out there and now my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!”
This opportunity has given her a chance to make new friends, build her confidence and get active in the process. Hayley takes part in the indoor soccer program run out of the Inverloch Hub. She’s also involved in the Swell Mamas surfing group, an activity that’s open to mums and children.
The result of localising This Girl Can – Victoria
GippSport has directly leveraged VicHealth’s state-wide campaign, and localised it by playing on Gippslanders’ community spirit. The positive messaging of This Girl Can – Victoria, paired with a heap of new, accessible physical activities, has encouraged women like Hayley to feel comfortable and welcome getting active.
And the best part is, local activities have encouraged people in the Gippsland community to connect and support one another in staying active. Hayley said, “everyone in our group has been supportive and encouraging, which quickly melted away any insecurities I had. Knowing that I can walk in to a casual fun game without pressure to be an expert, but still learn skills and build my confidence, makes me come back every week.”
The more women who get involved in local activities, the stronger GippSport will be. They’ve used campaign resources from This Girl Can – Victoria to support women in their community by:
- Expanding their offering across the local region while promoting the value of bringing the community together through physical activity
- Making sure activities are accessible to all women, by offering a wide variety to suit different interests and abilities at low to no cost
- Embracing that there’s no ‘wrong body’ for exercise or sport, and it doesn’t matter what you look like – it’s what you do that counts.
- Creating a community where ‘Gippy Girls’ celebrate and support other ‘Gippy Girls’ to be active regardless of their activity choice or ability level
- Empowering ’Gippy Girls’ to be active and having the confidence to celebrate it with the local community
Want more inspiration on how to support your community of women to get active? See our other supporter case studies for tips, tricks and a whole lot of good feels.