Power Up with Girl Power!
by: Penny Coleman
W.E.S.O.A.R! Girl Power Program Leader
I have always wanted to see women and girls succeed. I had envisioned that after I coached my sons in soccer and t-ball that I would love to coach an all-girls team. Then my youngest son, Landon started volunteering with Between Friends and that got me started. It didn’t take long to fall in love with everything about Between Friends and all who entered into it…staff, leaders, volunteers and the participants. After a short stint as a volunteer, I quickly jumped into a role of Between Friends W.E.S.O.A.R! program leader… and was hooked.
Why Girl Power?
While I enjoyed running various tykes, teens and adult programs, I started envisioning a new branch of a girl’s only group. I was most interested in the 13 to 17 year olds. I know it is hard for a girl growing into her teenage years to deal with body image, fitting in, self-confidence but to imagine that a girl with a disability going down the same path has got to be even more difficult.
I started planning ideas for activities for this imaginary group in my head. I put it to paper and at a leader meeting, I mentioned it to the program coordinator. She seemed interested and asked what I had in mind so I whipped my two pages of ideas out of my back pocket.
In the fall of 2013 we ran our first ever Between Friends Girl Power program. Sunday afternoons filled up quickly with eight little girls between the ages of eight to 12 years old, not quite the age group I had in mind but they quickly danced, laughed, and crafted their way into my heart. We went to the theatre, had brunch, did our nails, made new friends and learned a thing or two. I was in awe of having the opportunity to mentor these little gems for two hours every week. By the time the first session was over, I was already planning the second session!
Girl Power Love
I love seeing our girls return session after session and occasionally a new face will appear and quickly get absorbed into this snowball of silliness, plastic princess crowns and juice boxes. I adore hearing that my volunteers eagerly await the next volunteer opportunity. I love the feedback from their parents, grandparents, and/or guardians about how the girls chatter about what we did last week or what we are doing next week.
I smile when family, friends, other program leaders, and volunteers send me ideas and crafts that I might like to do with my group. I am always a little sad as we wind up another session, but I already have the next session almost completely planned.
For more information on Girl Power or any of our other Between Friends W.E.S.O.A.R! programs, select the ‘Programs’ tab on this website or call the Between Friends Office at 403 269 9133. You can also follow us on social media at @calgarybfc.