February is known for Valentines Day, but it's also home to "National Women and Girls in Sports Day", February sixth.
It's a less widely-celebrated day, but one equally deserving of attention; and on Saturday, women from Mercyhurst University sports teams held a special event to mentor the next generation.
"Boys think they're the only ones who are good at sports," said 11-year-old Shelby Proctor. She came to Mercyhurst University with her Girl Scout troop from Youngsville.
Female athletes from the university proved that theory wrong, and spread the message to the young girls who came to their campus.
"In Erie I think it's important to get girls, especially younger girls, involved in sports because it is such a fun activity and it can... help pay for college," said Meghan Smith, a Junior on the field hockey team.
"It's something to look up to and someone to aspire to be one day," said Smith's Sophomore teammate Kelley Hynes.
"It's important for them to see the ones in their local area that they can come and watch their games," said Bethany Brun, who helped organize the event.
She's a perfect example of why mentorship opportunities like this are so beneficial.
"Back in the sixth grade I attended my own Girls and Women in Sports Day, at the University of Dayton in Ohio, and found out about the sport of rowing."
It caught her interest. "I went to a sports camp that summer, rowed on through high school, and then got a full ride to Mercyhurst for rowing."
Girls in grades K through eight got to try familiar sports, like soccer, as well as some new ones, like water polo, rowing and field hockey.
It didn't matter if they were spiking a volleyball or learning lacrosse, the take-away was the same.
"They're being role models to us, so it... sort of gives me an idea of what I might wanna do when I'm older," said Proctor.
"It just makes you feel athletic and like I can do more instead of just watch TV all day," said her fellow Girl Scout Mallory Sherrard.
As part of the program, the girls were all given free tickets to the Mercyhurst women's basketball game Friday afternoon.
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