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(NC) Despite the wide-ranging evidence of the benefits of physical activity, many young girls continue to make the decision to drop out of sports. According to a new report called Women in Sport: Fuelling a Lifetime of Participation, social pressures frequently influence this decision – one of eight contributing factors. The report, commissioned by Canada’s dairy farmers and the Canadian Association for Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), demonstrates that these social pressures range from peer influence to lack of self-confidence, and ultimately lead to the ever-present gender inequality of sports culture. According to the study, 41 per cent of Canadian girls between the ages of three and 17 do not participate in sports. That number more than doubles to 84 per cent, when it comes to adult women. As they enter adolescence, sport participation for girls drops by 22 per cent, and school sport participation drops close to 26 per cent. “These findings demonstrate that there isn’t one reason why girls stop participating in sports – these social issues are complex and deserve Canadians’ attention,” says Karin Lofstrom, executive director of CAAWS. Increased support is imperative in encouraging girls to play. Looking to role models, such as female athletes, can help demonstrate to girls that success in sports is attainable, and can provide them with the confidence and determination needed as they seek to overcome life’s hurdles. “As champions of healthy living and playing an active role in their communities, Canada’s dairy farmers are addressing these inequalities through an initiative named Fuelling Women Champions. The initiative’s goal is to raise awareness of females in sport, while creating role models for women and young girls,” says Caroline Emond, executive director of Dairy Farmers of Canada. For more information, to obtain a copy of the report or to get involved in the initiative, visit www.womenchampions.ca. Follow and join the movement online to #ChampionHer.
By Joanne Shaw One of the most common questions asked is, “what kind of plant will grow on my fence? Well I know firsthand that both popular vines, Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper, will cover the fence nicely and without the need for trellises to boot! I have both in my back yard that is surrounded by fence with narrow gardens between fence and the pool we inherited when we bought the house. Both vines provide nice fall colour and both are deciduous and lose their leaves in the late fall. Here’s my opinion of the pros and cons of both of these vines. Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia Creeper is five-leaved ivy, or five-finger vine, it is a species of flowering plant in the vine family Vitaceae, native to eastern and central North America. I didn’t plant Virginia Creeper but I “borrowed” it from my neighbour behind me. We are in a corner house so my backyard faces the side of my neighbours’ garage. When we moved in 8 years ago, the vine was covering their whole garage wall, right up the soffits. I appreciated those few weeks of the vine covered garage. If I had to look at a brick wall in my backyard then it was great to see it covered with green… that is until they had it removed from their house, much to my chagrin. Well I quickly learned there was no such thing as ‘removing’ Virginia creeper! Pro or con, you decide. As it grew back with a vengeance, my next door neighbour and I decided to train it over the back and eventually side fence between us. If I had to look at a brick wall, I might as well have a green covered fence! We were quite successful in a short period of time. The vine filled in nicely but needs constant trimming to keep it in check. At the base of the fence it even grows on the ground and seems to make a beeline for the pool. Since it is a deciduous vine it does allow for some hard pruning to keep it in check. And even though Virginia Creeper plants attach to fences and walls with “pads” inside of tendrils, they still do a fair bit of twining and are constantly twining through my Japanese Maple (my one show piece in my virtually gardenless back yard). But my biggest pet peeve, believe it or not, is it also interferes with my ornamental grasses that I squeezed in front of it. It is constantly growing throughout the grass, ‘pulling it down’. Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata As for Boston Ivy, I didn’t plant it either. It was already planted in the narrow garden that I inherited along the fence but it was just a small patch and didn’t look like it was going to do much. Well I guess this story is similar to the tortoise and the hare… as fast as the Virginia Creeper grew the Boston Ivy took its time filling in nice and slowly. It’s much bigger glossier leaves creating a thick mat along the fence attaching itself with similar tendrils as the Virginia Creeper. So while I spent the last 8 years taming the Virginia Creeper, the Boston Ivy crept up on me and pleasantly surprised me with a nice glossy display. I have tried to remove the Creeper from the back fence and have let the Ivy fill in nicely. Cool springs may have contributed to its great growth but it has certainly taken its time. So good or bad, I am sure when people want to know what will cover their fence, they mean now and not in 8 years!
By Daryl Green In these difficult economic times, more and more working professionals are forced to spend time away from their families. Other professionals are advancing their personal agendas in hopes of getting to the top of their profession. This article examines how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families despite their hectic schedules. Like many professionals caught up in their work life, individuals often do not take the time to use these proven principles in their own homes. Many couples are more selfish than their children are and don’t provide a healthy, nurturing environment for them. This reality speaks to the personal ambition and priorities of the individual within a family structure. Writer J.A. Littler speaks to the material motives and priorities of our society: “Everyone worships something. While there may be no official religions or cults devoted to cars, money, fashion, or music, these pleasures of life and facets of society are all too often the overwhelming focus of people’s time, energy, and emotions. “Our society tells them they can have it all—money, power, and fame without any sacrifices.” Sadly, many working professionals provide their children a great standard of life; however, these parents are often setting their children up for failure. Many times the results of their labor are children who feel entitled and materialistic. The truth is something is being sacrificed in lieu of a successful career…your family. The following strategy is provided: Evaluate your family situation based on how family members’ priorities are spending most of their current time (i.e. work, community activities). Establish the desired vision for your family (the ideal family model). Develop priorities for the family in which all family members will comply. Create a family mission statement. Develop family goals each year from a holistic viewpoint (family, career, spiritual life, finances, etc.). Monitor results based on the desired family vision. Families are the foundation for thriving civilizations, and strong communities are built by strong marriages. Consequently, working professionals need to challenge themselves to provide a more holistic approach for their lives. This article evaluated how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families. Often, this reality is about balancing competing priorities. Les Brown, author of How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be-No Matter What the Obstacle, notes, “Your values are not set by government or church leaders. Your values give you consistency in the way you approach life…By holding to your beliefs, you can always stay on track toward your dreams.” Hopefully, working professionals can make these life changes for their families before it is too late.