As we drive our rig through Oregon, I am finally starting to feel a greater sense of purpose as to what our cross-country trip signifies. For most people, they see see four peppy girls in a colorful RV, running leadership workshops with games, activities, and a kid-friendly designed curriculum. Sounds like a blast, and looks like a blast… because, well it is.
However, what people see on the outside is only a small part of what we are actually getting to experience and fulfill. Our workshop is designed to reach a variety of girls from all sorts of backgrounds. One of the first activities of the workshop includes a brainstorm relay where participants write down problems that they see in their hometown, and in the world. The more workshops we run, the more it has become obvious, and in most occasions vocalized by the kids themselves, that the problems being written down are things they have seen, or personally experienced, in a short lifetime of no more than 16 years. Everything from depression, child abuse, drug addiction, death of a loved one, chronic sickness…you name it.
Completing these workshops has been extremely inspirational for our team. The urgency and severity of the problems lead the girls to some of the most beautiful opportunities to be leaders of social change, and to believe in their capabilities as compassionate people. For some girls, it is the first time they felt they took a part in something of greater meaning, which in turn, helped them change their perspective on the future. Our workshops, so far, have been impactful on the girls we work with based on the feedback from organization leads, workshop mentors, and all of our participants. That being said, we still have a significant amount to learn from the middle schoolers we will meet over the next three months.
The beauty of it all is that we are helping create a network of girls that can rely on one another to believe in their missions, and connect with those that seek the same type of encouragement as they make the transition into young adulthood.