When I was growing up there was only one group where girls could meet regularly, find decent role models, feel empowered to make positive change in the world, and eat your weight in cookies all in one place: The Girls Scouts of America.
I did well as a brownie and even rocked that vest, but I didn't last long after I became a girl scout. Around the same time, I also started playing softball and I realized I looked better in white polyester than olive green. But hey, priorities right?
As a teenager, I didn’t have many options either when it came to empowerment or positive role models. I was too young for New Kids on the Block but too old for *NSYNC, and missed out on all the boyband fandom.
The closest I got was Color Me Badd telling teen girls how they wanted to “sex [us] up.” And don't get me started about angst-filled Alanis Morissette and her jagged little pills. So it was such a relief when I got to college and Gwen Stefani and I seemed to be on the same page:
Oh I'm just a girl
Take a good look at me
Just your typical prototype
Oh, I've had it up to here!
Oh, am I making myself clear?
But that was then. Fast forward to the present, when I still look better in white polyester than olive green, but also have a daughter in sixth grade. Today, when you Google “girl empowerment,” it populates tons of different empowerment-related search terms: girl empowerment organizations, girl empowerment activities, girl empowerment programs, and more. And then when you actually search, Google gives you pages and pages of results. And you have to dig pretty deep to even find Girls Scouts of America.
Recently, my daughter went to the Girls Rock Summer Camp. It’s a combination of Tony Robbins meets Lilith Fair. On the Parent Showcase Day, not only did I squeeze her so tight because she had been gone for 7 days, I learned something myself about empowerment.
At camp, part of the curriculum included teaching the girls (ages 10-16) to stop apologizing for inserting themselves, using their voice, or simply speaking out loud.
When this happened, they were quickly interrupted by the entire camp yelling, "You, rock!" For example, when one girl was trying to walk by a group of people who were talking. Instead of saying, "Excuse me," she said, "Oh sorry, can I get by?”
And we’ve all done that. But really, why?
I was so impressed with the things my daughter learned at this camp. But it also got me thinking. Girl empowerment groups are growing in size, but so are women empowerment groups – including BRA! We’re welcoming new members all the time, which means women we can empower, hire, and support.
It’s a good time to be a girl, even if the news sometimes makes us feel like it’s not. #BRAnetwork