Birthdays are a time to celebrate and reflect. Yay me! Yay you! Candles! Cake!

The Women's Intersport Network for Kansas City (WIN for KC) celebrates its 20th birthday in 2014. Happy Birthday to Kansas City's pre-eminent organization for the promotion of girls and women in sport. The landscape of women's sports in KC would not be the same but for the dedicated single mindedness of an organization that deserves our applause and thanks.

WIN for KC, what do you know, T or F?

1. It hosts camps for young athletes every summer. 2. It brings championship events to Kansas City. 3. It sponsors the nation's largest women's triathlon.

The mission of WIN for KC is to, “empower girls and women through advocating and promoting the lifetime values of sports and fitness, while providing opportunities for participation and leadership development.” Since its inception in 1994, WIN has done just that and in the process changed the sports scene in Kansas City. WIN works tirelessly to bring sporting events to Kansas City. Under the umbrella of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation, WIN helped secure commitments for several NCAA championship events that our community will host in the near future. The WIN for KC Triathlon, to be held July 26, 2014, at Smithville Lake, is the largest women-only triathlon in the nation with over 1,500 participants, many of them first-timers. Girls are inspired when they see their moms and aunts participate and achieve. When women see other women succeed they too are inspired.

WIN's reach extends to sports camps for young girls. These camps convene every summer with the goal of introducing girls to a variety of sports and to inspire lifelong fitness. You play. You win. At a time when there is increasing concern about the relationship between lack of exercise and disease, introducing kids to sport can change the course of their lives. Girls engaged in sport report higher self-esteem, have higher graduation rates and lower rates of teenage pregnancy and substance abuse compared with those who do not play. At some point someone put a basketball into the hands of Tamika Catchings and the rest is history. NCAA Champion at Tennessee. WNBA Champion with Indiana Fever. Three time Olympic Gold Medalist.

Do it big or go home. On January 31 WIN's annual Women's Sports Awards Celebration will be held at the Sheraton Hotel at Crown Center. Ms. Catchings will be the keynote speaker. This is not your grandmother's afternoon tea party. Over 1,500 enthusiastic supporters of WIN for KC will gather for celebration. Six outstanding women will be honored for their contribution to girls' and womens' sport and many more will be recognized. State champions, including the Lee's Summit High School Softball Team, will be honored with the “Celebration of Champions March.”

WIN's 2014 calendar is filled with opportunities for girls and women to participate and learn more about sports. Visit to register for events and learn more about this great organization. Twenty years of advocacy and achievement, and WIN is just getting started. WIN for KC. I Play. I Win. With WIN for KC, we all win.

Answers: 1. T; 2. T; 3. T.

Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill can be contacted at