The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

August 15, 2013

Girls learn how to be leaders at new camp

YWCA hosts first Girls Inc. Leadership Camp


Sander-Silva trained in the Girls Inc. curriculum in Minneapolis and decided it would be a good fit to bring to Mankato for (roughly) grades 6-8 girls because the YWCA's Girls on the Run program targets girls in grades 3-5. Lane, a Girls on the Run coach, jumped on board to plan the sessions and help facilitate the camp.

This week the girls mapped out the places in the area where they feel safe/unsafe and powerful/unpowerful; they made posters with images of unrealistic images of women and realistic ones; and they studied their constitutional rights, among other things.

Today the camp will wrap up with a half-day workshop at Fusion Farm working with horses and learning skills such as self-awareness, personal strengths and resilience.

“I want them to walk away feeling confident in their ability to be a leader and make change,” Sander-Silva said.

The girls also took time out for some fun outdoors. To promote camaraderie and teamwork — and just to unwind and give the brain a break — the girls gathered in Sibley Park Thursday morning for some games.

Copycat was one of them, where a girl looks away while a circle of girls chooses a leader to act out some kind of motion, which the others mimic. The other girl comes back to the middle of the circle and has to identify the leader of the group, who changes the movements the group is mimicking throughout the exercise.

Caylie Clarke was the leader for only about 10 seconds before she was ID'd.

“She was looking right at her. Not her fault,” one of the girls said. “Nice job, Caylie.”

Clarke, 13, who moved to Mankato before last school year, said the camaraderie with the other girls has been good this week. She's walking away with more self-confidence.

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