WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- A young group of Winter Haven girls will be starting out their middle school years with confidence thanks to a day out on Silver Lake.
Girls Inc, USA Water Ski and Cypress Gardens Water Ski team have gotten together to not only get more eyes on the sport but also to help form young women’s minds.
More than a dozen girls, who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to get out and ski, are in their second week of learning how to get up and active on the water.
“Everyone helped me and it got really fun and easy,” Jada George couldn’t get up on her skis at first but by the end of the two-hour period she was all smiles and gliding on top of the lake.
In a boat beside her, teammates were encouraging her with loud “woos” and tips from the vessel.
ABC Action News spoke with on the Cypress Gardens Ski Team athletes, Barbara Muren, who’s says she’s been skiing since she was 3 years old.
“To see them go from maybe even being scared of the water to skiing on top of the water,” Muren said.
She added it’s been quite an experience to teach young girls how to do something she’s always had a passion for.
But according to Girls Inc., none of the young girls out on the lake have ever been given the chance to water ski.
“Opportunity, opportunity,” Peggy Threlkel, the executive director of Girls Inc. said.
USA Water Ski & Wake Sports says financial limitations often prevent girls and boys from getting involved in water sports. Mainly because to be able to do it, athletes have to have access to a boat. The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports partnered with Women’s Sports Foundation and its Sports 4 Life to make it a sport more accessible to girls who might not otherwise be able to participate, offering a grant to program like Girls Inc to get involved on the water.
That’s why the Cypress Gardens Water Ski team offers events like this, to give the public an opportunity they likely otherwise wouldn’t have.
“It’s amazing,” Threlkel said.
From the edge of the water you can hear the girls giggling, splashing but when the engine revs up it’s time to focus.
Jayda George says she never thought she’d be on the water skiing, but has learned a valuable lesson already on her second day.
“Number one is listen, because without listening you’ll never be able to do it,” George said.
The program for Girls Inc. runs each Monday until July 29 from 10 a.m. to noon.
You can find the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team schedule here.