Teen F.I.L.T.E.R.—Factoring In Love, Time, Energy & Relationships.
Last year, our Girls Granting Initiative was gearing up to give an organization a grant of $7,500 to make a difference in the lives of their peers. The Christine Ann Center was the gracious recipient, who teamed up with BEAMING to host a week long camp at K.K. Quarter Horses in August. During that time, young girls and boys rotated through 6-8 activities each day, including small group discussions, hands-on team building challenges, horseback riding, painting horse stalls, games, art activities, etc. All activities incorporated healthy relationships and self-esteem messages. “It was really neat to see what we had envisioned actually playing out,” Megan Diermier (from Girls Granting) said about the camp. “It was clear that [the camp] was helping people, and it felt amazing to know that we were behind that.”
Building and maintaining healthy relationships is extremely important for our younger generations to understand. “If teens are only exposed to unhealthy relationships, then that is all they will ever know,” says Mindy Boos, the Children’s Advocate for the Christine Ann Center. “Then teens will believe that the unhealthy behaviors (as seen in the unhealthy relationships) are ‘normal’ and to be expected.” Piper Langkau was another volunteer from Girls Granting that helped with the camp. She explained one of the activities which she was involved in.
“I had note cards with tape on the back and a name of one of the horse’s body parts on it. The kids had to stick the note cards to where they thought the body part was. Afterwards we discussed how we have to respect the parts of the horse and how ultimately each part is essential to making it all work. Just like a good relationship.”
Besides learning about the horses, there were other team-oriented activities as well—blindfolded obstacle courses, crossing the river, reverse limbo, and many more. One activity involved creating a “relationship cookie.” The kids were given the different ingredients for a batch of cookies that all symbolized elements of a relationship. They were then asked to choose the ingredients they thought represented a healthy relationship and then baked the batch!
Rachel Fischer of BEAMING was at the camp for every step, trot, canter, and gallop. “It was empowering, inspirational and uplifting to see the teens interact with the horses and grow and develop because of the relationships and atmosphere at camp,” said Fischer. “Above all, the teens had a FUN camp experience and knew that no matter the day or time, they would be accepted, welcomed and included in all of the group and individual activities.”
The Women’s Fund is excited to continue the tradition of the Girls Granting Initiative and can’t wait to see what amazing ideas come forth in the year 2014. Stay tuned!