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Announcing The Athena Project

Updated: Feb 16

2/16/24 UPDATE: Registration is now OPEN! Check out more on our Athena Camp page.


2/2/24 UPDATE: Don’t worry - you haven’t missed your opportunity to join us at the Athena Project. We’re taking just a little more time to put on the final touches, so thank you for your patience. Athena Project details and registration links are coming soon!


THE ATHENA PROJECT

WFencing and Northwest Fencing Center (NWFC) are thrilled to announce a collaborative partnership with the creation of a one-of-a-kind women's and girl’s only fencing camp coming to Portland, Oregon August 11-17th.


The Athena Project’s mission is to develop and support young women leaders in fencing. All three Olympic-style weapons will be included and the organization of this Project formation includes an amazing legacy of athletes and Coach Mentors: Sandra Marchant, Jennifer Oldham, Jennie Salmon, Tasia Ford, Susan Jennings, and Kat Holmes. Also part of the leadership core will be athletes in long-term development, Coach Mentees, critical to USA fencing’s growth. We will be welcoming special coaches, presenters and volunteers to be announced at a later date. We are expecting capacity for this camp to be over 100 athletes and future leaders.


In order to participate as a camper, you will need to be a competitive fencer, competing Regionally or above, aged 12 + and have the drive to excel in fencing. We will be creating a new path, modeling for the evolution of teamwork, collaboration, self-management, advocacy, and competition. Oh, did we mention positive mental health, boosted self-confidence, and empowering strategies for feeling fantastic about yourself? It's all part of the package! LOOK FOR REGISTRATION TO OPEN FEBRUARY 1st, 2024.


Part of WFencing’s mission is to extend the Olympic dream by working to achieve diversity, unity and equity among all fencing professionals no matter race, gender, or geographic location in the United States. A large part of this camp also includes integrating long-term athlete development into coach development pathways. We invite those interested in participating who are still completing but over the age of 18 to be Coach Mentees. You can read more here and apply to be part of this movement. Participation includes a stipend.


THE HISTORY

In the Summer of 2023 the staff and board of Northwest Fencing Center (NWFC) were concerned girls are twice as likely to drop out of the sport than boys. NWFC decided it could play a part in growing girls’ commitment to fencing and fostering their development of important life skills.


The first Athena Project event was scheduled for December 16-17, 2023: a weekend camp exclusively for Women fencers 12 and up, run by women coaches in a women-only space. Coaches Delphine De Vore and Kat Holmes, led by Sandra Marchant of Rogue Fencing and WFencing, were brought on board. Registration was robust and immediate with over 50 fencers signed up a month before the event! 


A chance meeting with Coach Jen Oldham of WFencing, on an internship funded by Olympic Solidarity, the Olympic Training Center and the University of Delaware in September of 2023, led to the extension of this vision for a much larger three weapon camp scheduled for August 11-17, 2024. This first of its kind cooperative camp and conference event will encompass 3 weapons, 90 participating athletes, 4 coaches per weapon, athlete presenters, legacy coaches, and long-term athlete development and coach development.


Hiring facilitators include Jennie Salmon, Jen Oldham, and Sandra Marchant (inquire here for hiring). Budgeting, registration, and facility are provided by NWFC (contact Michael McTigue, Executive Director). Adeline Chung-Feder of WFencing is also a major contributing organizer. The Athena Project serves as a vehicle for like-minded nonprofits and individuals dedicated to the uplifting of women in fencing to fundraise jointly and individually.


GET INVOLVED

We are currently seeking sponsorships! Please donate directly to WFencing or Northwest Fencing Center to support these efforts. Both Michael McTigue and Jen Oldham are primary individual contacts for sponsorships through these 501(c)3 tax deductible organizations and can speak to the specific sponsorship benefits.


Interested in being a leader in this project? Fill out this inquiry and Jennie or Jen will be in touch with you about hiring and the decision making process.


Youth athletes, mark your calendars for February 1st, 2024 (see Update above). This is when registration will go live. This camp is sure to fill quickly!


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