Empowerment, Day 2 (The heart)

Getting to the heart of things takes a bit of time. In writing we call this throat-clearing. You write and you write and then there at the bottom of page 22 or 104 or 250 is the point of all this jibberish. Our camp doesn't have the gift of endless days so we jumped in with both feet to what the point of why we even created this camp.

What this camp is about is building a toolkit for our girls that will enable them to face all that life has to throw their way. We all know there is so much we cannot control, but we, ourselves, have the power to shape how we respond to events and circumstances.

And so with that knowledge, each of us as leaders opened up our hearts and shared a bit of our stories. Annika, Erica, and myself are passionate about this tool kit because WE WISH WE WOULD HAVE HAD ONE OURSELVES when we were their age. Erica is presenting a wide variety of mindfullness techniques, Annika is teaching us about the power of our bodies and how they can be used to help us through difficult times, and I am guiding them in recording and reflecting on all of this in a journal they will take with them. I really feel like this journal is a gold mine. In it, we are recording all of the techniques we are learning to alleviate stress. These range from simple breathing to walking in nature to laughter yoga to power moves. Scattered throughout all of this is time to talk, laugh, and reflect, time to nourish your body, and time to get down and dirty honest with how life is for you. Of course, this is hard.  

I cannot overstate how BRAVE these young women are.

On Tuesday, each girl had an opportunity to "let go" of something that has been weighting them down. They wrote this thing on a note card anonymously and then the note cards were collected and read out loud. The girls were startlingly honest. A heartfelt discussion followed about how our differences still add up to a shared experience. Annika then led us in movements that further encouraged "letting go" and Erica helped the girls build a fire where we burned these worries, another way of letting go.

Funny and courageous and energetic and wildly different and yet linked through shared feelings...letting them discover this was a huge goal.Though so often it feels like it, we aren't alone in our uncertainties.

We end the day with art and freedom. Some girls cluster up, others retreat, and almost everyone takes to the art supplies to pretty up their journal. Erica got them started on a collage, which is to create a vision they have for themselves. At this point, we aren't pushing too hard because each girl has to determine what they need from this free time. It might be alone time, it might be time with a new or old friend, it might be getting into the art, or stretching your body. The goal here is to simply do what you need.

Finally, we circled up to debrief about the day and ask, "What did you learn today?"

The responses were as simple as "To breathe" to "I am not alone" to "I can learn to take care of myself."

Can I take a minute to ask for a virtual high five? Yes!

But there is more to do, more to learn, more to face.

Tucked into all of this, new body movements, stilling our crazy minds, and writing how uncertain we feel about who we are, there has been the best part, the real part...the truth telling.

Oh, brave and mighty girls. I love every single one of them.

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