AGE UP, ARIA Ultimate, and Gender Equity
Many discussions about the sport commonly known as “ultimate” come back to the ultimate community. Ultimate is touted far and wide as an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive sport, due fully to the people and groups that play it. No community, no ultimate. Without that community and the way it inspires and changes lives, ARIA Ultimate wouldn’t exist. The company was founded on the basis of giving back to the ultimate community and enabling it to maintain the impact it has on the world.
ARIA’s giving-back method of choice has been a one-for-one model of donating discs to organizations that use ultimate for the greater good (for more on the ins and outs of one-for-one models, check out our blog post here. But handing out discs to everyone isn’t practical, so finding social partners to pair up with for donations was crucial. We wanted to ensure the best possible distribution of the donated discs, and to make sure we partnered with organizations with a variety of goals and purposes.
Why AGE UP (All Girl Everything Ultimate Program) as a social partner?
A number of organizations worldwide have recognized the disparity between the genders both in ultimate and outside of it, as well as ultimate’s great potential as a sport and culture to work towards equity (providing everyone with what they need to succeed, rather than equality, which provides everyone with the same thing). In our one-for-one effort to give back to the community and encourage the amazing work being done, it only made sense for ARIA to partner with an organization that focuses on women and girls in ultimate and takes a stand for gender equity. We found a perfect match in AGE UP (All Girl Everything Ultimate Program), a group based out of Seattle, Washington that works to “empower future leaders, expand opportunities for growth, and build community around a love for Ultimate Frisbee” with a focus on gender and racial equity.
What impact does AGE UP have on the ultimate community?
AGE UP works with youth (of all genders) in a program designed to consist of "dismantling the patriarchy, undoing white supremacy, and throwing the frisbee.” Youth start out in one of two first-year programs, one which “welcomes all girl-identified and girl-socialized participants” and has been “dismantling the patriarchy since 2010,” and another which “welcomes all boy-identified and boy-socialized youth...to engage young men in undoing sexism”.
Once participants complete the year-long program (aimed at middle- and high-school students), they can move onto a returners program featuring “more conversations and hangouts in an all-gender space.” By building a solid framework of unity and activism in a safe space for participants, AGE UP gets them ready to be leaders on the ultimate field and in the wider world and to feel confident and empowered doing it. In working with students from schools in South Seattle, a historically less-advantaged district, AGE UP has benefited hundreds of youth, and by encouraging feminist and equitable action for tomorrow’s ultimate players in a community that might otherwise not have the opportunity, they’re actively working towards a more equitable and inclusive environment in ultimate and the wider world.
Looking to the Future
They’ve been successful in a number of ways. AGE UP works in 15 schools in South Seattle and has 260 active participants, an impressive number for any organization. Alumni of the program have gone on to play in the Cascades Cup during the AUDL season, for a number of college teams, and continue to carry and spread the lessons and tactics taught by AGE UP into the wider world, benefiting everyone - ultimate player or otherwise.
ARIA is excited and proud to be working with AGE UP in doing awesome things for the ultimate community, gender equity, and the world in general. To learn more about the rest of our cool social partners, check out our website, and to learn more about AGE UP or to get involved with their work, see their website here.
We at ARIA Ultimate believe the future is female. To check out our efforts and support conversations around gender equity, head on over to our online shop and see what you can do to help bridge the gender equity gap.