February 2: Dallas
When brainstorming with Dallas on how we wanted to structure the event, we quickly found that at the heart of their issues was the common fact that there simply weren't enough women, Trans, and gender nonbinary folks playing in the Dallas area. We decided then to take a step back from discussing equity and figure out how we could create more equitable recruitment and retention practices to increase attendance numbers. Dallas is a pretty spread out city, full of cars and barbeque restaurants, and home to the top 10 ranked mixed team, Public Enemy, and Maeve, who lost this past year to Denver Molly Brown in the game-to-go to Nationals in the South Central Regionals.
We started off the session by looking at what positively or negatively impacts retention from a gender-neutral perspective, using the experiences of the crowd. It was cool to see specific examples of what retention looks like, so that we could take tangible goals for how we want to bring more people into the conversation.
We then split into small breakout groups to explore different aspects of the conversation. The four groups were: organizational level (e.x. governing body of Dallas Ultimate Association (DUA), USA Ultimate, Upwind, etc.); captain's level (e.x. local recreational league level, college, or elite club level); social level (e.x. the party culture of ultimate); and how to increase awareness to all ages. The top 3 points from each group is pictured above, and the full notes can be found here.
We then talked with a partner and talked about what we can each do on a personal level. Some people shared how they would step up to be positive role models and ambassadors at pick-up, another shared about volunteering to coach a local high school team, or talk to their teammates about these issues and see what they think. The DUA is looking to buy a local field to create into ultimate fields, so if you pass by a random grassy space on the side of the road, message them on Twitter!