GUM Co-Founder Zara Cadoux Resigns From Organization

Cadoux's departure is a blow to the USAU initiative.

Photo: Alex Fraser -- UltiPhotos.com
Photo: Alex Fraser — UltiPhotos.com

With the club postseason in full swing, USA Ultimate announced today the resignation of Girls Ultimate Movement (GUM) Working Group Chair Zara Cadoux.

Cadoux, after two years of spearheading the national initiative’s creation and development, resigned accomplished but worn out after working to grow the USAU-backed initiative across the country.

“There are many contributing factors to my resignation,” she told Ultiworld. “First and foremost is my desire to direct my energy to the local level. I have not had the bandwidth to seize local opportunities for partnership to grow the number of girls playing. Here in Baltimore there is no youth girls scene at all. Without a connection to female youth players, I wasn’t seeing my work with GUM trickle down to girls.”

A key piece of GUM’s continued development will be growing its network of volunteers. Cadoux and Brauer announced an expansion of that network as one of their movement goals in 2016. Today’s press release mentions a reevaluation of the present youth volunteer structure, and hinted at other announcements that may be addressed before the year end.

As Cadoux and Brauer ramped up GUM’s presence, they looked forward to increasing participation at all levels across the country, and spreading out the many demands of growing GUM and hosting clinics. “Another factor [contributing to resignation] is the increased workload for GUM volunteers. Over the course of the spring Heather Ann and I took on more, contributing to my feeling of burnout,” Cadoux said.

The GUM co-founders announced their plans for new positions in the volunteer structure in July, although it does not appear that headway has been made since then. Cadoux was adamant that more nationwide organizing would be crucial for GUM’s continued success, as it has been already. 

“In the first year of the volunteer structure, we added 25 Girls State Youth Coordinators under Heather Ann’s direction. We’re excited to increase the capacity of the volunteer network in year two,” said Cadoux. Her resignation and the press release’s proposed reevaluation suggest a slower pace for the growth of GUM.

GUM is a grassroots campaign at its core, and Cadoux looks forward to bringing her national vision to her local ultimate scene in Baltimore. She will continue to contribute GUM as it grows. “Moving forward I’m excited to stay involved in crafting the vision for GUM while exploring contributing to the movement in new ways,” Cadoux explained.

With time to refocus, Cadoux looked to bring her work ethic and vision to the broader and more nebulous discussion on gender equity in ultimate. An open forum with USAU staff held after the GUM presentation at the US Open this summer on the topic yielded many opinions and new questions, but did not offer any concrete goals.

Cadoux noted that she was ready to bring her voice to the conversation. “…I feel a pull to get more involved in advocating for gender equity. I’m excited to have more creative energy to contribute to new initiatives!” she said.

The loss of Cadoux from GUM in an official capacity is significant, and the organization will need continued commitment from its volunteers to achieve its goals in 2016 and beyond.

  1. Simon Pollock
    Simon Pollock

    Simon Pollock is a Contributing Editor at Ultiworld. He lives in Seattle and started writing for the site in 2014 while living in Baltimore, MD. Email him: simon@ultiworld.com or tweet at him: @_simonpollock_ .

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