Win for KC's Camp WIN continues tradition of empowering young girls through sports

Camp Win field hockey WIN for KC
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 06, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of young girls gathered on the field and in the gym to learn about more than a dozen different sports through Camp WIN.

It’s a program put on by WIN for KC, which the Kansas City Sports Commission established in 1994 to empower women and girls through sports.

“Camp WIN was designed to introduce girls to a variety of different sports,” WIN for KC Director Taylor Obersteadt said. “We see that girls, by the age of 13, drop out of sports at two times the rate of boys.”

When those girls drop out, they miss out on the life skills that sports can impart.

“All of those life lessons that we need to be awesome adults in our community, I think sports teach so much more than those basic fun skills,” Obersteadt said. “It really teaches you how to be a team player, how to have empathy, how to have patience, how to really come together and work toward something together."

Maryn Triplett, a senior tennis player at Blue Valley North, knows firsthand about Camp WIN’s impact. She came as a camper several times and is in her second summer as a Camp Captain.

“It’s such an important message for girls to learn — that they are powerful, they are strong, they are smart and they are capable,” Triplett said. “I definitely learned that as a camper. Being able to teach that to my kids now is such a cool, full-circle for me.”

The Camp Captains become someone to whom the girls at Camp WIN can aspire to emulate.

“Our campers really look up to them and it gives them someone to look up to and kind of have a role model,” Obersteadt said. “We all need that, so it’s kind of fun to see those relationships.”

Triplett can’t help but see herself as a young girl in the campers she works with now.

“I truly just love being in this position and being able to see them grow throughout the week,” she said. “They come in at the beginning and they’re a little bit shy, a little bit hesitant. They want to do good, they want to make friends, they know some people. But as the week goes on, you can just truly see them build confidence in themselves. They believe in themselves."

WIN for KC has sponsored Camp WIN since 2001.

There are three weeks of camps for girls ages 6 to 12 years old, which draw approximately 1,000 girls each summer.

“The lessons you learn through sport, it creates such strong young people,” Obersteadt said. “It’s creating a better generation going forward, and I’m excited about that.”

As Camp WIN continues to evolve, so does the sports landscape for women athletes in Kansas City, which is home to the first purpose-built stadium for a women’s professional team, the Kansas City Current’s CPKC Stadium, and will add a KC Pro Volleyball team next year.

“Women are showing up, showing out and finally being recognized in the ways that they have always deserved and I think that’s so important,” Triplett said.