Dear Friends,Girls Outside

We are savoring this start to the holiday season. Among our many blessings this year are the growing strength of GLI, and the families that GLI brings together. This has been our busiest fall ever, connecting to over 120 families. We’ve loved hearing back from our participants. Here are some of the messages we’ve received:

It will be wonderful to have these girls growing up having a better chance to be effective leaders and communicators.” – James Birchler, 3rd grade dad

Thank you so very much for conducting such a wonderful, inspirational class not only for our precious daughters but for us parents that still struggle through a bunch of these issues. In the four weeks we have been together I have seen a dramatic difference in a bunch of the girls in our class, including mine.” – Trish Ingugiato, 2nd grade mom

Real Parenrs, Real Daughters is exceptional–a workshop that should be mandatory for any family with a daughter!” – Diana Nemet, 5th grade mom

Thank you GLI family—for believing in us, for telling your neighbors about us, and for giving us the feedback that helps to make us better.

If you are on Facebook, please support  GLI and help us go for one of the $25,000 grants that Chase will distribute. Since we are a new, small non-profit, every click counts. Read below to learn about summer registration, our inspirational alumna, and read a real gem from WOOSH! blogger, Shannon Keane.

All our best,

Simone Marean & Julia Loonin

Girl Face Paint LaughingSummer 2010 Registration is Open!
While everyone else is getting ready for the holidays we are starting to get obsessed with camp. It seems that we are not alone– families are signing up earlier than ever. Learn more about what GLI has in store for this summer. There are unique programs at every grade level, plus our favorite traditions like Slip ‘N Slide, water fights, dance parties, a high ropes course, trips to Mass MoCa, and Poop Deck. A transformational summer awaits! Register now. Some grades have only a few spots left. See you this summer.

Night in NYCGLI Takes Over the Big Apple
Miss whooshing at the top of your lungs? Miss your GLI people? We know that next June is too long to wait so we devised a plan: GLI-ers from all over the country will meet in New York City on January 16th.  Join friends and counselors for a day of games, a slide show, ice skating, Chinese food and lots of time to reconnect with your friends from camp! We will start in midtown Manhattan, then make our way through Central Park to skate (don’t forget to pack your hats, scarfs and gloves), then walk a few blocks for noodles. Get the additional details. Can’t wait to see you in New York!!

Autumn ForestFall Leaves & Trapper Keepers, by Shannon Rigney Keane
In autumn, the leaves change color in much the same way that my hair grays – in large, startling swatches that bloom overnight. Last week, I came across a tree that was vibrant summer green, all except one large bough that popped bright yellow, as if caught with one arm stuck through the sleeve of a bright sweater.

Autumn means industriousness. The trees are the first to get to work. They’ve been taking it easy all summer, soaking up the sun, and now the show-offs demonstrate their abilities in a final, brilliant performance. Many years on the academic calendar – as a student and, later, as a teacher – have thoroughly conditioned my mind to equate the autumn with a different sort of colorful spectacle – new pens, folders, and binders (remember Trapper Keepers?) of every hue. As the trees turn and the weather cools, my fingers itch for school supplies, my mind thinks, “Well, time to get back to work.” Then, in the uncomfortable silence that follows, quietly wonders, “Doing what…?”

Continue reading…

Athletic GirlElaina Koros Reviews Rachel’s Simmons Palo Alto Presentation
On September 24, Rachel Simmons spoke about her new book, The Curse of the Good Girl, at Gunn High School in Palo Alto. The energetic and comedic delivery of her very important content captivated the entire audience. She started out by asking her audience to text in words that describe a “good” girl. Words and phrases like “pretty,” “perfect”, “avoids conflict,” and “liked by everyone” appeared on the screen. Rachel explained that girls who fit into these molds are sacrificing their true selves. On the other hand, real girls are able to know what they feel and want and accept their mistakes.

Then, Rachel reminded us that our friends do not have emotional ESP, so it is our responsibility to communicate our feelings. An effective way to do this is to accept your feelings and to express them using inside feelings (sad, hurt, jealous) opposed to outside feelings (enraged, irritated, frustrated.) Rachel explained to us that there are no bad feelings, just bad actions, and that a true friend respects your feelings even if she doesn’t agree with them.

Rachel presented us with tools we can use to communicate our feelings. First off, when facing conflict, instead of avoiding the situation or pushing at the other person, by using an “I-statement” you are more likely to solve the problem. Second, everyone is entitled to a NJZ (no joke zone.) One’s NJZ is an area of their life that is simply not funny to joke about, and hopefully there friends will accept that. Third, girls often pretzel themselves or use self-defeating language. When Rachel asked us to sit like guys, the whole audience took up as much room as they could; when Rachel asked us to sit like girls, everyone crossed their legs and arms. Rachel encouraged us to take up space and accept compliments, so that we are confident in owning our strengths and talents.

Rachel addressed making assumptions, which is the act of deciding that you know the truth without 100% of the details. Assumptions result in three steps: thoughts (“She’s mad at me;”) emotions (angry, frustrated;) and actions (gossiping, obsessing.) A healthy alternative to this process is to ask or wonder about more positive alternatives. Rachel pointed out that when dealing with mistakes, a negative voice often pops into our head. This voice might tell us that we are not good enough or that we are failures. To confront this, we need find our BFF voice, which is basically a best friend in our heads that reminds us to stay positive and find good in every situation. After all, a good self-evaluation needs both good and bad thoughts.

I learned so much from Rachel’s talk, and I know that everyone else listening did also. Rachel is truly an inspiration to women and girls everywhere, and her advice and research makes an impact on the lives of all those who hear it. I look forward to reading The Curse of the Good Girl soon!

GLI Sophmore Summer AlumnaMeet Olivia Garwood, 11th Grader
When Sophomore Summer alumna Olivia moved from California to the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 2007, she quickly discovered that not all was right in paradise. The cost of living in the sunny tourist destination is one of the highest in the nation but the average income is also lower than many parts of the United States – an unfortunate combination that leaves many Hawaiians homeless or living in poverty.

Olivia wanted to do something to help the people of her adopted state but the problem seemed bigger than anything one young woman could do. She started researching homeless shelters and aid organizations on the island and found them woefully inadequate. Some shelters forced families to split by enforcing “male-only” and “women and children only” spaces while others offer a daily place to sleep but little else to help people break out of poverty. By the time Olivia arrived at camp, she’d decided the only solution to a big problem was a big idea: start a new resource center for homeless and impoverished Hawaiians on Oahu.

Yet, Olivia doesn’t just want to erect a building; she wants to provide a foundation for people who come there for help. “This building will not be called a “shelter” because I don’t want it to be a place people come and go on a regular basis, on and off their whole lives. This building will be a place where the decision to change your life will start by entering the doors.” Plans for the center include counselors for each family to guide them through a program that includes job training, interview prep, and financial planning.

Olivia has started a website to chronicle her project that includes a blog on her progress. (Olivia requests that the GLI community sign up to receive updates from her site so she can keep us all up to speed on her progress!) She also maintains a Facebook group and a Twitter account about her project. She’s also looking for an artist who would design a t-shirt and logo for the next stage of fundraising. She plans to sell merchandise, hold community fundraising events, and approach local businesses about donating both funds and a space for the center.

Olivia recently met with Hawaiian Governor Lingle about her idea and she provided several contacts as well as support and encouragement. Olivia is currently reaching out to existing shelters to ascertain best practices and creating a budget for the project.

Olivia realizes how big of a goal she’s chosen – but she wouldn’t have it any other way. “Many people have been weary of whether or not this project could work out but by supporting me you are supporting the greater good of helping people. I know that all this hard work will form into something truly unbelievable.”

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