Laughter is coming from a community room adjacent to the local VFW Club. Patrons of the local club are peaking around the corner to see what all the commotion is about. What they see is women and girls engaged in trying to untie themselves from overlapping hands that have formed a human knot, or they are engaged in a discussion about how each girl can make positive ripples in her community. These women and girls are taking part in a Girls Lead Day Camp.
The Girls Lead program is a one-community event that empowers and equips girls to have positive relationships with self, others, and community. Junior high girls are invited to step out of their comfort zone at day-long events held in communities across northern Minnesota.
I have been fortunate enough to be part of the Girls Lead program for over seven years. I started working with Girls Lead helping design the curriculum for a week-long camp. My involvement in Girls Lead has changed over the years to my current position as a youth leadership consultant. I am very excited this weekend to be attending the Minnesota Women of Today convention to help roll out the Girls Lead curriculum and propose Girls Lead camps to be held throughout the state of Minnesota.
Girls Lead started ten years ago as a high school leadership program in Warroad, Minnesota. The Warroad Women of Today organization created the program to engage girls in community activism and to explore choices in post-secondary education. The week-long program, that took place on a university campus, was offered to girls from communities throughout northern Minnesota.
In an effort to reach more girls at a younger age, the Girls Lead day camp was developed. Each daylong event is hosted by a community organization (for example Women of Today) in partnership with Girls Lead. A facilitator, trained in the Girls Lead curriculum, guides the girls through hands-on activities and discussions geared toward recognizing personal leadership strengths in self and others, and exploring the ripples each girl can make in the community. Girls leave the day feeling empowered with tools that each can use to be a leader in exactly who she is.
Here are a few comments made by Girls Lead participants:
“I loved how open-ended the activities were. You let us discover and convey what we needed without overthinking it. The college exercise was phenomenal for bonding with the other girls.”
“What I liked about the Girls Lead day camp was it brings a girl community together to identify who we are and the difference we can make.”
“Girls Lead day camp was a day to find yourself and see that you can do anything.”
Girls Lead is a program of Peacemaker Resources and funded by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Through Girls Lead, I have seen the transformation of girls through their learning more about their personal talents and how through small actions each girl can make a positive impact in the world.
More information about Girls Lead can be found at: https://www.peacemakerresources.org/girls-lead.html