Making a difference

Selland, Nelson start nonprofit to help female athletes

Madysen Vlastuin, Reporter

A pair of Jackrabbit women’s basketball players launched a scholarship program late last month to give girls and young women who might not have the financial means to attend sporting opportunities.

Her Turn is a nonprofit organization started by Myah Selland and Tori Nelson and affiliated with the Brookings Foundation. It is designed to provide sports opportunities to young girls in the Brookings community who may not otherwise have the chance to participate. Recipients of a scholarship will attend South Dakota State University athletic camps, including basketball, volleyball and soccer, at no cost to them and their families. 

The idea started when the NCAA approved the new Name, Image and Likeness rules last year, which allows college athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness.

“While our organization is not a NIL activity, the idea started out of using our platforms to advocate for something we are both passionate about,” Nelson, a sophomore forward from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, said.

Selland and Nelson say they were privileged to grow up in a household where sports were encouraged, and that might not be the case for some young girls today.

“Our passion for sports began early, as we were both surrounded by families that opened the door for us to sports,” Selland, a redshirt junior who recently moved into ninth place on the Jackrabbits’ all-time scoring list, said.

 “Unfortunately, sports participation is becoming more and more burdensome on families,” Selland said. “Sports experiences are expensive, time-consuming and often require special equipment. We understand our privilege to have grown up in families who had the means to provide sport experiences for us.”

Participating in sports while growing up has had a significant effect on Selland and Nelson. They hope that this impact on young girls participating in sports will not only grow their love for sports, but that it will impact their overall sense of self and allow them to improve in other aspects of life. 

“Girls who participate in sports develop leadership skills, improve mental and physical health, foster relationships, build self-esteem, overcome adversity and learn the value of teamwork,” Nelson said. 

Her Turn’s affiliation with the Brookings Foundation has provided them with an organizational structure. The foundation is a tax-exempt charitable organization, with a mission to encourage a legacy of community giving. With help from First Bank & Trust, the Brookings Foundation serves as a philanthropic vehicle to accept, manage and distribute money for Her Turn. 

The director of the organization, Kurt Osborne, said he was more than happy to support Selland’s and Nelson’s endeavor. 

“When Myah and Tori shared their vision for Her Turn it was clear how committed they are to making this a viable and ongoing measure of support to provide scholarships to girls who, because of Tori and Myah’s efforts, will now be able to participate in sports camps at SDSU,” Osborne said.

With the passion and leadership that Selland and Nelson have shown in creating opportunities for young girls in sport, the Brookings Foundation is happy to support their organization, according to Osborne.

“… We feel fortunate as the Brookings Foundation to play a role in the development of this organization,” he said.

This nonprofit could not have started without the support from the Brookings community, Selland and Nelson said. 

“After launching Her Turn, we’ve been reminded of how generous the people of Brookings are in supporting the community,” Selland said. 

Both players are hopeful that Her Turn will empower as many girls as possible to find their passions.

“We have been fortunate to have our turn, and we want other young girls to have these same experiences,” Nelson said.