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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

Today is International Women’s Day 2021, which is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.

Women Questers with their arms up on a beach in Hawaii
“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” – Mary Oliver

Colleen’s Story

I never thought a day like this could exist when I was growing up during the days of Title IX when we had to really fight for women’s equality in sports and education. Luckily, when I was young and living in Indiana we had great access to sports with something called GAA: Girls Athletic Association. It was so great because I got exposed to every sport under the sun. We got to play volleyball, tennis, basketball, track and field, wrestling, golf, bowling, swimming, the list goes on. It really empowered me to learn how to move my body as a young girl.

1977 girls basketball team yearbook page

Then, in high school after a very active childhood, we moved to a small, wonderful town in Alabama which unfortunately (or magically) did not have any sports for women. I was in shock when I learned that the only sports to choose from were baton twirling, the marching band, or cheerleading. The reason I tried out for baton twirling because I loved the sparkly outfits and pom poms, but I could just not catch that darn baton for the life of me.

It was probably fate that I failed at baton twirling. I went to my dad one evening, who was coincidentally the president of a large company in town, and voiced my concerns. When I was 12 years old, I wrote a report about Title IX so I knew what it was. I knew that we deserved the right to play sports in high school just as much as the boys did. 

So, I created a ruckus. With some hard work and determination, we created a small basketball team (although we had to practice in odd hours, make our own uniforms and find other female teams to play against, which was not easy) and a small track team. This was what really catapulted me into a vision of equal rights for all beings, women, children, and even animals, throughout my life.

Making a difference

I am telling you this story because it was my one small voice standing up against a very BIG and long standing tradition in the south where women stayed on the sidelines, looked pretty, and definitely didn’t sweat. But I was standing up for what I believed in, which made all the difference. If I had remained quiet, I would have been sad my whole entire life! It was not only the way I stood up that counted, but it was also that this stance came from a deep knowing and courage to stand up for what I believed in. Because this stance was centered in LOVE, I made a difference, even if the only difference was to myself.

Founder of Women's Quest, Colleen Cannon

When I was a triathlete, I was once again in the forefront, working to get equal prize money for men and women. I worked hard in the early 80’s to help triathlon become an Olympic Sport, which required us to have more women participating.

This love of movement and the outdoors, the love of being on a team sport, working together and how good we felt afterwards, the love of pushing boundaries and setting standards that no one had done before, the love and courage of our special coach Mrs. McNutt who didn’t have the opportunity to be an athlete but did she read every book on how to play basketball and we all learned together. This all prepared me, my heart, my whole being, allowing me to to rise and kindle my courage to believe that I deserved a chance to express myself in sports just like the high school guys did.

All of this hard work changed many rules and regulations in this tiny town in Alabama. I think I was put there as an undercover angel to help promote sports and education for women in the South. I also found my best friends over those three years in high school. We worked together to make change, and we didn’t give up.

Still to this day, we are all Wild and Wonderful Women who used sports as a vehicle to grow and become our true selves. 

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

Girls track team yearbook picture

So, as we celebrate women’s achievements on this International Women’s day, I want to give a huge shout out to my high school basketball team and track teams. Also to our coach Beth McNutt, to the school, and all the participants (even to the people that helped us make our outfits). We have come a long way, baby!

The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge’. A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.

I am challenging each of you to try something new for the first time. To step out of your comfort zone and daily routine and try something that is not normal or routine. To believe that you can make change just by your smile, being kind, and helping anyone or anything in need. To reach for what is in your heart. To imagine and create a world of equality for everyone. It is not outside of you — this change —  this new world starts inside your heart. It started when you were born, and it will never ever stop expanding into Love.

Male, female, black, white, animal, rock or tree: we are all ONE. So my challenge is for you to be YOU!

Spring Awakening Challenge

In honor of Women’s History Month, and to continue to celebrate International Women’s Day and kick off spring, we are offering a free week on the Quest for our Spring Awakening Challenge! The Spring Awakening Challenge will run from March 20th – 27th, and it will include double the fitness and movement classes (ex. barre burn, qi gong, tabata, and pilates) as well as special events with Pablo Seminario and the globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda, and sports medicine, John Douillard.