Female Elite Wrestling (FEW), an Iowa City, IA-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has received a $3,000 R.E.A.C.H.E.S. equipment grant. Founded in 2012 by Charlotte and George Bailey, Female Elite Wrestling's mission is to offer girls and young women wrestling opportunities and remove barriers to participation at all levels of the sport. While women's wrestling was a major factor in restoring wrestling to the Olympics, and it's the fastest growing high school girls sport nationwide, females in wrestling encounter many challenges to success on the mat. FEW raises awareness of the sport and offers free and low-cost girls-only training opportunities in a fun and inviting environment.
For too many young girls, practice with other girls is rare and competition with female peers is almost non-existent. In 2015 FEW expanded to begin offering girl's wrestling tournaments. FEW tournaments are organized to welcome beginners and also attract top talent from across the Midwest. Through a strong volunteer effort, FEW tournaments make a lasting impression on young people while keeping costs low for families. All proceeds from FEW events fund scholarships for USA Wrestling memberships, and assist athletes with training camps, and registration for state and national competitions.
Iowa is beginning to see tremendous growth in first-year wrestlers of all ages. For new middle school and high school wrestlers in particular, women's-specific singlets are often not available in schools and used wrestling shoes from club or community donations are often too big for female athletes. Hair covers, a requirement even for mid-length hair, can be another unexpected expense that females encounter when joining junior high and high school teams. Coach Bailey applied for the R.E.A.C.H.E.S. grant so that FEW can provide hair covers, headgear, wrestling shoes and kneepads in support of increasing involvement in amateur wrestling.
FEW extends their thanks to Walt Fisk, Executive Director of R.E.A.C.H.E.S., and Adidas Wrestling for their generosity.
R.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2007 in an effort to promote, protect and preserve the integrity of amateur athletics by providing athletic and educational opportunities to all athletes of all ages and abilities. This unique experience will provide educational, technical, and compassionate, harmonious, interesting and active lives. All profits from R.E.A.C.H.E.S. will be used to support specific needs in each sport to ensure future generations of athletes, fans, parents and coaches will continue to learn from valuable lifelong athletic lessons.