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Edina middle schoolers graduate from Nike Game Growers Program

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.
Edina middle schoolers graduate from Nike Game Growers Program

Lila Emerson and Claire Wegmann-Krider, both eighth graders at South View Middle School in Edina, were drafted by the Minnesota Lynx as their 2020 Nike Game Growers, and will be graduating from the program at the end of May.

Nike Game Growers is an innovative opportunity for eighth-grade girls to share their ideas on how to encourage more girls to play sports. Two girls were selected by each participating WNBA or NBA team to develop and test their idea and create a Game Plan that could grow girls’ sports participation.

Claire and Lila share a passion for creating more opportunities for girls in sports.  The girls were ecstatic when they were surprised by Minnesota Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve with the news they had been selected to be Game Growers.

They had the opportunity to join Game Growers from across the WNBA and NBA at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Colorado in January 2019 to attend a two day leadership Training Camp.  Working closely with mentors from the Minnesota Lynx organization, Claire and Lila have honed their Game Plan to host a Minnesota Girls’ Basketball Summit. The Minnesota Girls’ Basketball Summit will be a day-long event for 200 middle school girls which will feature a Minnesota Lynx player panel, fun basketball drills, the Jayla mentor program, and inspiring speakers.  The Summit will focus on confidence, leadership, community, and healthy lifestyle, with the goal of empowering girls to stay in sports.

Reflecting on their experience as Game Growers, Claire and Lila feel fortunate to be able to use this experience to help girls in their community.  “Going to Training Camp, hearing from such inspiring, incredible people, and the activities that we did gave us the confidence we needed to bring our idea to life” said Lila Emerson.

Claire and Lila are also Junior Varsity Board members at the non-profit Her Next Play, where they will continue their work to expand opportunities for girls in sports.

“I can’t wait to see what they do in the years to come because I truly believe that these two are set to change the narrative around girls’ sports, change perceptions, and change the world” said Joanna Stang, Partnership Activation Manager at Minnesota Lynx, Timberwolves, and T-Wolves Gaming.

A Game Growers graduation will be held on May 28th, and Claire and Lila will continue to work on plans for the Minnesota Girls Sports’ Summit.