North Texas Daily

Play Like a Girl knows no bounds

Play Like a Girl knows no bounds

November 19
02:57 2015

Andrea Czobor | Staff Writer


Play Like a Girl president and broadcast journalism senior LaKaisiah Williams’ journey with the PLAG organization began through an internship this summer, where she was in charge of social media platforms. She said her social media work inspired her to share with others the potential of finding physical and psychological peace from being active.

With encouragement from PLAG founder and executive director Dr. Kimberly Clay, Williams said she took the opportunity to establish a collegiate group at UNT. Her focus quickly became geared toward college-age women.

“Play Like a Girl is a 12-year-running national organization, and our goal at UNT is to empower women to live happier and healthier through physical activity and sports,” Williams said.

Having grown up in up in Mississippi, where there were no sports available for girls in public school, Clay said she began battling with her weight early in childhood. As a former university professor at the University of Georgia, she said she understands the importance of partnering with students, as many chronic diseases like heart disease can start with obesity.

“Access to free, fun and safe physical activity and sports is a big barrier,” Clay said. “The social support to help sustain behavior once a lifestyle is adopted and the confidence to believe that one can do it maintain a healthy lifestyle are all issues many college-age women deal with today.”

Williams said she is not, and never has been, a “workout person.”

LaKaisjah Williams a Broadcast Journalism senior started the UNT chapter from the national organization Play Like a Girl. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

LaKaisjah Williams a Broadcast Journalism senior started the UNT chapter from the national organization Play Like a Girl. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

“We are geared toward everyone, any body type and any stage of fitness,” Williams said. “We want women to be comfortable to work out, and our sisterhood of likeminded women makes it much less intimidating.”

Students interested in joining can take part in bi-weekly workouts every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. by the second-floor elevator in the Pohl Recreation Center. The women typically begin their sessions with stretches as they introduce themselves and share body goals within the judgment-free atmosphere PLAG creates.

In preparation for their group Booty Blast class, the women do warm-up laps around the track.

“We talk a ton during our stretches. And by the time we finish Booty Blast, we’re a bunch of sweaty friends who have shared a fun experience with each other,” accounting freshman Jalen Jefferson said. “PLAG is similar to the bonding of Greek life. These are friendships I will continue to have after college.”

While in high school, Jefferson played a variety of different sports like basketball, volleyball, softball and wrestling. But when she arrived to the university, she said she became overwhelmed and sluggish. She said she is determined to get rid of her “freshman 15” and back into shape before 2016.

For PLAG membership coordinator and speech language pathology junior Addison Lewis, getting back in shape once she entered college was a difficult task.

“It was hard to figure out how to tackle the machines and get into a routine,” Lewis said. “I was completely lost, but if I had PLAG, it would have been amazing.”

As an executive board member, one of Lewis’ responsibilities is to stay in contact with current and potential members.

“There is unity behind the group, knowing you have that great support system to support you to do something that is hard to kick-start,” Lewis said.

PLAG’s hosts bi-monthly meetings 7 p.m. Wednesdays in room 205 of the Rec center. Students have opportunities to tour the recreation center, learn the machines properly and listen to guest dietitians sharing nutrition and fitness advice.

“We are dedicated to enriching women’s lives, whatever size, whatever shape, in positive way,” Williams said. “No body-shaming allowed here, just loving who you are and knowing that you can be who you are but in a heightened and healthier state.”

Featured Image: Broadcast journalism senior LaKaisjah Williams concentrates during a class. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photograper

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