Inside look at Girls Rising

It’s been an amazing five weeks with Girls Rising. The past 11 sessions with the girls flew by. We spent our first day together: harvesting our lunch from the Rainier Community Center (RCC) Garden, goal setting, learning how to garden from Aaron Roche, making comm.u.n.i.t.y. agreements, and finally planting our intentions for the program.

To start off the day we harvested: kale, chard, snow peas, and beets. We then created a deliciously healthy salad, stir fry and soup from our bounty to help get us going for a long and good day of service out in the garden. 

After we got our grub on, Aaron Roche, taught us how to weed, water and plant properly. Shout out to Aaron for taking the time out of his day to help facilitate! 

To beat the heat, we spent some time inside next to the fans to brainstorm our individual goals as well as make comm.u.n.i.t.y. agreements. The purpose of these agreements were to hear directly from the girls what they need as a group to stay safe physically and emotionally during our time together. Our agreements consisted of what we cultivate during our time together, as well as what we want to leave out of our safe space.

As you’ve probably gathered from now, the topic of conversation for the day was centered around growth. 

What helps you grow? What areas are there for growth? 
And finally, how can we create a fertile space for growth as a group? 

Our lead facilitator for Girls Rising, Stephany Hazelrigg, told the girls a great story about companion planting called, Three Sisters. The tale speaks on the symbiotic relationship between: beans, corn and squash when planted in the same space. The corn provides a structure for the beans to climb while the beans provide nitrogen for the soil. The squash spreads along the ground blocking out sunlight to help prevent weeds from establishing themselves. 

This symbiotic relationship was a great segue way to our field trip the following Thursday. We met extra early Thursday at RCC (8:30am!) to go up north to Skagit Valley to a ropes course. I personally, had never been to a ropes course so I entered the experience without any expectations.

Little did I know I would be jumping off a couple story pole supported by our 15 amazing middle schoolers!

At the beginning of the ropes course we met up with DYVAS, a Powerful Voices summer program for High School girls for some warm up activities. After these activities we parted ways with DYVAS to play a seemingly simple activity, that proved to be quite challenging. The premise of the activity was for the whole team of girls to make it across three elevated platforms using short planks without touching the ground. 

After much trial and error the girls figured out a system for crossing from platform to platform and then it was off to our final, and most anticipated activity: 

The jump.

The girls helped each other into harnesses and nervously waited for instruction. The set up was pretty simple one girl would climb the pole and the rest of us would hold on to a rope to ensure that she landed safely. What surprised me to hear was the girls excitement and loyalty to each other so early in the program. When the first young lady made it to the top everyone shouted, “We support you!

The ropes course proved to be a great way for everyone to get acquainted and quite literally jump out of our comfort zones with the support from our budding community. 

My favorite part was seeing the girls say yes to themselves, and each other even when they were faced with conflict and challenge. 

I support you Girls Rising!


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