I just finished spending a week with 50 girls going into the 5th-9th grade at my Strong Girls Strong World Camp. When I told people what I was going to be up to, most of them rolled their eyes and and said something to the effect of: “Why would anyone want to spend a week with hormonal girls embroiled in mega-drama?” Actually, why would you NOT want to hang with girls of this age?
By the way, they were incredible! They set intentions the 1st night that they wanted the camp week to look and feel different than the way school feels: non-judgmental, drama-free, safe, no gossip, and everyone being included. They took on the responsibility to make it happen, and that’s exactly what they created.A different kind of spa!
The very 1st night, we had them experience a “spa night”. We had 6 stations set up where the girls rotated through progressively more gross “treatments”. They gave each other oatmeal facials, used shaving cream to sculpt beautiful hairdos, and at the end commando crawled through a mud pit and into a kids swimming pool loaded with thick, muddy water.
And this spa night had the anticipated result: the girls forgot about looking good and being self-conscious about their appearance. They busted out of their comfort zones, had a blast, and started to relax. Girls have precious few if any ‘sacred spaces’ in which they can let their guards down and be real, and we made sure that this camp week would be different, right from the start.
I started running these all-girls camps and weekend retreats because I wanted girls to have a safe place to go and learn about the ‘Heroine’s Journey’ they are on as they traverse through the challenges of adolescence. Girls need to understand what this transformation entails, and they need a lot of support as they go through it. We are not doing a good job of this in our culture, and all of the negative symptoms girls are exhibiting point this out(depression, anxiety, cutting etc.).
My new book, “Sleeping Beauties, Awakened Women: Guiding the Transformation of Adolescent Girls”, just came out this week, and in it I explain our role as parents and teachers in guiding girls during this crucial stage of life. I hope it helps you support your girls in this process.
Anyone for a facial???