It’s a Friday afternoon. And as the cold wind blows and the sky burns orange, a group of girls from Westside Christian College’s FITChicks program are listening to a once-in-a-lifetime presentation. Afterall, it’s not every day you get to meet a gold medalist.
She’s a former Westside student, weightlifter, Olympian, multiple Commonwealth Games medallist, lawyer, daughter, wife and mother: Deborah Acason knows what it means to pursue your dreams. She knows what it’s like as a woman to be pulled in a thousand directions. She knows what it’s like to be in the spotlight and stand tall.
Last Friday, Deborah spent an afternoon with the FITChicks girls to encourage and inspire them to embrace the virtue of ‘Perseverance’. As St Paul said, let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-2). FITChicks is about Fitness, Integrity and Tenacity.
FITChicks is the brainchild of Sports Co-ordinator, Lynda Williams and Physical Education Co-ordinator, Lana Harch. Now in its fifth year, the program was born out of our desire to see young women take their place in the world: “it is important girls know that they are more than what they see on TV or magazines. They are created with a purpose and can achieve anything” beams Lana Harch. The results speak for themselves: girls from all walks of life and fitness levels are encouraged to commit to the 10 week program. In small, mentored groups, they train twice weekly, early in the mornings. Boxing, running, aerobics, team obstacle challenges and cycling are undertaken at each girl’s pace. Of course, friends are always there to cheer them on. One afternoon a week, the girls gather for presentations on life, self-worth and mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Prominent community speakers like Deborah Acason is an important part of ensuring FITChicks is more than just a fitness program.
Former College Chaplain Sheralyn Anderson, who was there for the presentation noted: “She was so engaging. She has this amazing ability to make you sit up and want to listen to every word coming out of her mouth.” Another student reflected “Deborah was so honest with her words. She’s achieved to much and faced so much. She’s a great role model for us. Lots of us are going to leave school and be on our own. But her advice will stay with us.” Guest speakers like Deborah provide mentoring, motivation and honest discussion for Westside’s young women finding their place in the world.
Reflecting on the hundreds of girls who have participated, Williams notes “Doing this as a community is so important for these girls. It stops being about the individual and becomes about sisterhood. It’s about belonging.” 2015 Westside graduate and Environmental Science student, Bronte Kulp, remembers the program fondly “It helped me to grow in confidence, character and my relationship with God and others. FITChicks taught me to persevere and dig deeper… The lessons I have learnt I will carry for the rest of my life.“
Deborah, as with all the girls featured in the image (above, right) have all participated in Little Athletics. One of the students featured will attend an elite AIS camp in September (read more, here). Deborah is a product of Goodna Little Athletics.
Westside Christian College wishes to thank Deborah and the Acason family for their support of the FITChicks program.