Tag: social/emotional learning

Ranging and Roaming

two young boys walking together down a path towards the setting sunOne of my favorite Facebook friends is a guy I went to grammar school with. Favorite because he’s a kind and sensitive soul, and favorite because he is one of the best “post-ers” I know. This is what caught my eye today:

“I shudder to think of what I would have missed were I not told to ‘go out and play’ and be back for dinner. How many fewer friends, interesting and caring adults, and even the random ‘job.’ I also learned how to read and handle people…It’s a sad thing to go through a residential neighborhood these days, with tricycles in the driveways but not a single kid in the street.”

Some parents have recently been arrested for letting their kids roam freely, or be “free-range,” as it has been termed. The only sort-of equivalent I can think of from my own childhood was being a latchkey kid. That meant I wore a key around my neck on a string. Both my parents worked, and I would be able to let myself into our apartment when they weren’t there. But that was not separate from roaming the neighborhood and the city. Roaming was a given. In fact, most of us felt a little sorry for the kids who were kept at home “for safety.” As if they were in prison, and missing out on all the life that was to be had outside: fort-building, hide-and-seek, riding the bus to see a double feature, roller-skating to a friends house, hiking to the creek, walking to buy an ice cream cone or check out books from the library.

We didn’t feel afraid, and the things we felt afraid about we knew how to handle, such as strangers offering candy or rides and crossing streets at crosswalks and with traffic signals. And we knew we could ask people for help if we needed. Doug is so right. Being out in the world taught us how to read people, it made us part of a wide community filled with all different kinds of people, it required that we learn first-hand how to navigate streets and situations. It was better than being coddled like infants, protected like precious objects. Being a citizen is what it meant, with agency and standing, and the means to travel.

Statistics seem to bear out that our communities are no more dangerous than they were 20, 30, or 40 years ago. And yet parents’ concern for their children’s safety has increased, along with a sense that children need scheduled, organized enrichment, in order to get ahead and experience a fulfilling childhood. Yet I wouldn’t trade my ability to walk by myself to Doug’s house for anything, when we were both 9 years old. The enrichment discovered in those several blocks was limitless, and I feel it still.

The 5 Essential Skills Your Daughter Needs to Have Happy Healthy Relationships

If I had to pick the one thing that matters most to human happiness, I would say that our relationships with other people matter more than anything else.

In Tuesday’s post, I featured the work of Dr. Christine Carter and her book Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents.  Her Simple Step #2 is entitled “Build a Village.”  This chapter breaks down why it is so important to your child’s overall health and happiness to be positively connected to other people and how you can help him/her be that way.

Over the course of this series of blog posts for Bullying Awareness Month, the overall through line might just be this…the stronger your daughter’s social/emotional skills are, the healthier her relationships will be, and the less likely she will be negatively impacted by bullying (either bully, bullied, or bystander).

Bully Free Through LineSo, according to Dr. Carter, what are the 5 essential social/emotional skills that your child needs to build happy healthy relationships?

1) Active Listening 
Listen when someone is talking. Make eye contact.  Ask the other person questions.  You know for yourself that you feel more important, valued, and appreciated when someone is really listening to you.  When you are with someone who makes you feel appreciated, you will most likely like that person, right?

I think this is the number 1 thing we can do to teach our girls to be connected to other kids because it is so easy to teach.  All it takes is practice:

  • Insist that your kids give you eye contact when you are talking to them.  Here’s the trick – make sure you give them the same courtesy.
  • Coach them through a 2-sided conversation.  For example, “I just asked you how your day was and I listened to your answer.  Now, it’s your turn to ask me how my day was and you will listen to my answer.”  Here’s the trick – don’t talk too long.  They are only kids. They will get bored if you go on too long.
  • Celebrate them every time they are actively listening.  “Thanks so much for listening to me talk about my day.  I feel very special when you do that.”

2) Self Regulation
Our girls have big feelings.  They are in the process of learning how to have big feelings without them getting out of control.  We don’t want our daughter to get so angry that she takes it out physically and verbally on other kids.  We don’t want our daughter to get so frustrated that she cries and whines whenever something doesn’t go her way.  If you find this behavior annoying, so will her peers.  The main way for you to help her is for you to make it VERY clear, on a consistent basis, that, although ALL her feelings are always okay, that not all of her behaviors are okay…especially in certain contexts.  “It’s okay that you are angry, but it is not okay to yell at your brother.”

At Go Girls! Camp, we begin each day in a community circle where the girls have to experience a moment of silence together.  We talk about how this is the time for them to transform their free play energy into focused energy.  It’s a very successful practice.  Most of the time kids take this moment very seriously.  However, when they don’t, it’s a wonderful opportunity for modeling and reinforcing self-regulation.  The rule is to be silent.  That’s the boundary.   So, when someone laughs or makes a silly noise, we either start the moment of silence again giving them another opportunity to practice making a safe behavior choice.  This is teaching the girls that it is up to them to take care of themselves and that certain behaviors are appropriate at certain times.

3 BFF's from Go Girls! Berkeley Summer 2013
3 BFF’s from Go Girls! Berkeley Summer 2013

3) Navigating Conflict
Kids will fight.  As Christine Carter points out, kids are more comfortable with conflict than adults are.  Conflict is not a problem.  Conflict is a good thing.  The problem is that kids have not yet learned how to work through conflicts.  It’s our job as adults to teach them.  People who can work through conflicts in peaceful, loving ways are well connected people, indeed.

At Go Girls! Camp, we use a Peace Place to work out conflicts.  It’s a dedicated part of the room where a script hangs on the wall that helps girls work through conflicts.  It’s a classic I-Statement: I Feel___When You___I Need You to___and I promise I will____.

Read this to learn more about what Christine says about this.

4) Kindness
As a transition from “Kids Choice”, our free time time, to focused class time during our camps, we often give the girls an opportunity to share a celebration of someone who was kind to them during  Kids Choice.  We hear stuff like, “I celebrate Sarah because she played with me” or “I celebrate Zoe because she helped me clean up the animal toys even though she wasn’t even playing with them.”  Kids appreciate kindness and generosity and want to be around it.  Christine writes in her book, “My guess is that most parents hope their children are kind, but few deliberately teach kindness in conscious ways.”  But, like all of  these skills, kindness can be taught if we as adults are modeling kind behavior ourselves, telling our kids what it looks like, and celebrating them when they do it.  “Raising Happiness” is chock full of ways to teach kindness to our kids.  

5) Play and Have Fun

A good friend is someone who plays with me.

– 6 year old Go Girl!, 2013

Kids like kids who they can play with, have fun with.  This may seem like a no-brainer but we are seeing more and more instances of kids who just don’t know how to play.  We know the story.  Modern kids are overscheduled, have a lot more distractions, spend less time outside, spend more time isolated from other kids, etc. etc. etc.  My niece once told me about a girl in her class at school that she didn’t like very much because, “she has no imagination!”

Kids, whose only real work IS to play, to make-believe, are coming to us at Go Girls! not very good at it.  When prompted to use their super power of imagination to make up stories or games or simply to play with wooden blocks or plastic animals during Kids Choice, we hear “I don’t know” or “what should I do right now.” In these situations, our job as adults is not to tell them what to play.  That does not let them learn how to play.  My teachers and I just keep asking questions – questions that will inspire their creative muscles:

  • Only you know what to do.  What do you think you should do right now?
  • What does this block remind you of?
  • What can you do with these blocks?
  • What would happen if a zombie came in the room right now?
  • What would happen if a zombie came into our story?

The play must come from them.  From their ideas and their imaginations.  The more they use their imagination muscles, the stronger they will be.  And the stronger they are at playing, the more fun they will be to the other kids.

This post is #17 of 25 Tips to Teach Your Daughter to Respect Herself, Command Respect, and Respect Others.  Wanna make sure you get all 25 Tips for Bullying Awareness Month?  CLICK HERE and we’ll send ‘em right to your email!

For more incredible Go Girls! resources for helping your girl stay safe, happy, and healthy in her relationships, check out Kidpower and get your copy of Starring Celia.

Support Your School to Support Your Daughter

Let’s be honest.  We can’t move the dial on bullying unless families and schools work together.  And I mean, really work together.  Not blame each other.  Not politely tolerate each other.  But find ways to be in honest communication, build systems and structures, and hold each other accountable for creating a community of respect at the school.

Allison, co-founder of Go Girls!, practices mindfulness with kindergarteners at Glenview.

Go Girls! is in the 3rd year of our partnership with Glenview Elementary School in Oakland, CA where we have just embarked on a school-wide effort called “Go Glenview! A Journey of Social Emotional Learning and Leading through Visual Arts, Theater, and Music.”  The project is a partnership of the school staff and administration, the PTA and the rest of the parent community, along with us and another incredible teaching artist organization Microphone Mechanics.  And, of course…the students.  The school has already been working to integrate the tools of Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) and Restorative Justice and these tools are central to guiding us on our journey.  The overall goal: To help Glenview students become leaders in their lives and their communities through:

  • Building resiliency, cultural appreciation and mutual respect
  • Strengthening communication skills
  • Navigating the school and the world
  • Developing strategies to resolve conflicts
Teaching Artist, Jahi, of Microphone Mechanics works with Glenview students.
Teaching Artist, Jahi, of Microphone Mechanics works with Glenview students.

This is an awesome project to be a part of.  And the parents are really showing up.  Not just physically, but emotionally.  A group of parents have formed an Equity Committee help the school do the hard work of creating the norms and structures that will allow all students and families to feel safe, valued and respected as part of the school community.  And yes, this is hard work.  No doubt about it.

As part of this, there are some things I am learning about how all of us who love our girls can show up and support the schools that support them:

  1. Assume the best intentions of the school – Your daughter may go to a school where it feels unsafe.  The best place to start is to assume that the school does care about its students, including your daughter, and that it is doing the best it can with the resources and information it has.  Classroom teachers and administrators have the hardest jobs in the world.  But they do this work because they want to make some kind of difference.  They do care about learning and growth.  You may disagree with how they are going about it all the time but it is crucial that you show up to the conversation with an open mind and an open heart.
  2. Fall 2013 Issue of "Teaching Tolerance" Magazine features a great article called "There Are No Bullies."
    Fall 2013 Issue of “Teaching Tolerance” Magazine features a great article called “There Are No Bullies.”

    Educate Yourself – There is A LOT of great information out there about what is working in schools to help create a culture of safety and respect.  I highly recommend Teaching Tolerance and Edutopia as the places to start.

  3. Be willing to own your part – The other day, I asked a 3rd grade class at Glenview what they think needs to happen to make their school a more respectful community.  One boy answered, “Our parents can be role models for us.”  Wow, huh? Just spend a little bit of time reflecting on how you show respect to yourself and others while you are on campus.  What is your relationship to other parents, teachers, and students at her school?  What are the ways you are modeling respect and where are the areas you want to work on?
  4. Give your money.  I know.  Everyone wants your money and this is just one more thing.  But money is a very important part of this process.  The article about bullying in this Fall’s issue of Teaching Tolerance states “The most effective bullying interventions don’t focus on only one category of kids, but rather acknowledge that all students benefit when schools empower youth and teach them about healthy relationships. Adopting comprehensive programming designed to promote social emotional competencies is a great way to support students…”  These kinds of comprehensive programs cost money.  Simple as that.

This post is #16 of 25 Tips to Teach Your Daughter to Respect Herself, Command Respect, and Respect Others.  Wanna make sure you get all 25 Tips for Bullying Awareness Month?  CLICK HERE and we’ll send ‘em right to your email!

For more incredible Go Girls! resources for helping your girl stay safe, happy, and healthy in her relationships, check out Kidpower and get your copy of Starring Celia.

The 3 Simple Steps to Help Your Daughter Become an Emotional Superhero

Dr. Christine Carter, author of “Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents” writes:

Emotion Coaching is the key to raising happy, resilient, and well-adjusted kids.

At Go Girls! Camp, we believe that emotion coaching is the key to helping our girls take charge of their own emotional literacy and become the emotional superheroes that will help improve their own lives and lead our communities in a compassion revolution.

Emotion Coaching is simple but it’s not easy.  It requires that we adults trust our girls to take charge of their own emotions and solve their own problems.  We must coach our girls to come to their own rescue.  This short presentation takes you through the 3 simple steps of emotion coaching and includes a coaching video to help you make this transition into becoming her emotion coach.

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This post is #15 of 25 Tips to Teach Your Daughter to Respect Herself, Command Respect, and Respect Others.  Wanna make sure you get all 25 Tips for Bullying Awareness Month?  CLICK HERE and we’ll send ‘em right to your email!

For more incredible Go Girls! resources for helping your girl stay safe, happy, and healthy in her relationships, check out Kidpower and get your copy of Starring Celia.

Is it Really Bullying? Here’s How to Find Out…

Creating a “Bullying Awareness Month” is all about light.  It’s about shining light on the dark places – the places we haven’t wanted to look at in the past.  Bullying used to be something that adults just ignored and encouraged kids to do the same.  “Oh, those kids can be so mean.”  The best we could do was teach boys how to fight and girls how to grin and bear it.

Thank goodness we don’t do that anymore.  Well, I guess some of us do but at least it’s not socially acceptable.  It’s socially acceptable to call bullying out, to convene committees and task forces, to create plans to solve the problem.

We don’t put up with bullying anymore.

The Bully Free Zone

Now, we have a new problem.  In some communities, there is so much light being shone on bullying that it risks being overexposed and mis-used. We are all in the habit of labeling kids as “bullies” as opposed to labeling behavior as “bullying.”  Our friends at Kidpower define bullying as:

The most common definition of bullying is, “a repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group of persons.” Bullying is different from aggression between people of equal power. However, someone can have less power than others for many reasons – being shy, being different, lacking confidence, having problems at home, or lacking physical strength.

When we consider this definition, we must consider that ALL of us are capable of bullying behaviors.  We are all navigating our power in the world all the time so we are all capable of making mistakes as we use our power in relationship to other people.  When we label kids as bullies, we create a very damaging disconnect between ourselves and “the bully.”  We throw compassion out the window and replace it with judgment and shame.  The angry mob is formed and the target becomes our kids.  “That kid is a bully…let’s get him!”  Not only do we disconnect from our children, we disconnect from any accountability that we may need to take around our own bullying behaviors.  “Oh please stop crying.  You misunderstood me.  I am not a bully.  How could what I did make you cry?!?”

Bullying vs. Conflict

I see it with girls all the time.  Many girls believe that their feelings should never be hurt.  If anyone does anything to hurt their feelings, that person immediately becomes a “bully.”   We are writing all month about how to help our daughters be safe, happy, and healthy in their relationships – to give and get respect.  When we know what healthy relationships look, feel, and act like, we protect ourselves from bullying.  Conflicts, disagreements, and big feelings are key elements of happy, healthy relationships.   They happen all the time.  And they should.  Bullying has no place in a healthy relationship.  When someone is being bullied, she is being victimized by another person who’s sole intention is to do them harm.  When someone is bullying, she is mis-using her power, holding her power over someone else, to make herself even more powerful.  Addressing bullying, then, means that we must learn to feel comfortable navigating conflict in our healthy relationships.

Talking to Your Daughter about Bullying

What can you do to help your daughter navigate bullying without blowing it out of proportion?

  1. Assume the Best Intentions: Remember, when your daughter comes to you about a relationship issue she is having, she is talking about another child.  Someone else’s baby who is, just like your daughter, going through a process of learning how to navigate his/her power in the world.  Assume that this child is not an “evil bully” and that s/he is just doing the best they can in their own process.
  2. Become the Trusted Adult: You want your daughter to be able to come to you with any trouble she is having.  You want her to know that she can trust you to be there for her, no matter what.  You can build this trust by staying calm and empathetic when listening to her stories.  This will be hard.  You will probably feel an instinct to come to her rescue, to solve her problems for her, and to bring your own emotions into the situation.  That’s okay.  You can notice those things are happening without letting them take over.
  3. Ask curious questions: When you show your daughter your calm and empathetic self, you are in a much better position to ask questions for sole purpose of gathering information about the situation instead of getting someone in trouble.  With the calmest, most neutral tone you can manage, ask questions like:
    1. What else happened?
    2. Tell me more about that.
    3. Is there anything you did to make the problem bigger?
    4. Is there anything you did to make the problem better?
  4. Build Her Resiliency Muscles: Your daughter will always, her whole life, be in relationships where her feelings will get hurt and she will hurt someone else’s feelings.  Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to change that.  What you can do is help her learn how to be okay with having the feelings that don’t feel so good and moving through them.  Do you know about Emotion Coaching?  Check this out.
  5. Try to See the Bigger Picture:  Just from the sheer fact that you are reading this blog post, I know one thing for sure about your daughter.  I know that she comes from a home with incredible privilege.  She lives in a home where she has a parent or caregiver who is intentional about how to care for her and her social/emotional needs.  She comes from a home where there is a value around learning.  Your daughter is going to school, living in neighborhoods, and engaged in activities with a diverse group of kids.  And these kids come from all different types of households.  Many of these households do not (or, for some reason, cannot) hold or act on the same kinds of protections or values that you are.  This is important to keep in mind the next time you feel rage about how another child is treating your child.  Remember that adults model inappropriate mis-uses of power for kids ALL THE TIME.  ALL our children are doing their very best to make the right choices and don’t always succeed.  I’m not asking you to excuse harmful behavior, but I am suggesting that you see it in a larger context.

This post is #6 of 25 Tips to Teach Your Daughter to Respect Herself, Command Respect, and Respect Others.  Wanna make sure you get all 25 Tips for Bullying Awareness Month?  CLICK HERE and we’ll send ’em right to your email!
For more incredible Go Girls! resources for helping your girl stay safe, happy, and healthy in her relationships, check out Kidpower and get your copy of Starring Celia.

Spark! The Cheerios Ad Everyone’s Talking About

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYofm5d5Xdw?rel=0]*Have you seen this Cheerios ad that’s causing all this buzz because the little girl in the ad has a white mother and a black father? The ad has more than 2 million views on YouTube — and it was only posted 6 days ago. Around here, we’re ignoring ignorant, racist comments and paying attention to something else: The response from biracial family members excited to see someone who looks like them represented in a mainstream media. After all,  there are  nearly 2.5 million interracial married couples in America — but you wouldn’t know it to look at today’s media landscape. We love this comment from  Camille Gibson, General Mills VP of marketing, who told website Gawker, “…At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.” That’s how we feel at Go Girls, too!


*We are so excited by a recent blog post from LitWorld, which offers 10 ways for parents to build a family narrative with their children: “Summer is a wonderful time to reinforce a family culture of storytelling and story sharing…Stories build resilience and give us sustenance and comfort in challenging times. Besides that, collecting stories is joyful and fun and connects us all to one another.” Read the full post to learn how to write a family mission statement or create a family inspiration notebook. Also, find out what an Emory University study discovered was the most important thing a family could do.

*Are you worried that your kids are spending too much time plugged into a screen? Then you may be surprised by the results of a new study from the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University, which showed nearly 80 percent of parents surveyed, “did not report conflicts with their children over media use — meaning, the children aren’t begging while the parents grudgingly withhold.” According to one of the study’s authors, Vicky Rideout, this was surprising. She told The New York Times: “We hear time and again about kids demanding more and more media devices and parents struggling to find ways to cope with it,” she said. “In reality, what we’ve discovered is that most parents of young kids aren’t concerned about media use.”

ONE LAST THING: For some tween girl parenting pointers, follow iTwixie on Twitter. We’re loving these recent gems, like “Apologize when you mess up. She’s watching.” and “She’s a stubborn girl… high five her! It’s a great skill for project management.”

Spark! How do you help your kids deal with stess?

kids_stress*How do you help your stressed out kids relax? Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child, has some great ideas to help you help them, including yoga, art projects — and our personal favorite: Encouraging them to give themselves a big hug! “You’re really giving them a sensory experience,” she explains on The Huffington Post.

*What do you think of when you look at a starry night? Redefining Girly author Melissa Wardy shares her thoughts in this beautiful blog post: “My children are at the age now that I can clearly remember large parts of my childhood. I hope they make memories as good as mine are to me, of running barefoot and racing across lakes and sharing late night laughs and dances with friends. I hope they see the stars from the other side of the world someday. I hope they keep their feet on the ground as their minds lift to the stars, where no limits or stereotypes or harmful messages can reach them, and let that space be their guide as they follow their hearts through their days.” Read the rest of her thought here.

*Speaking of inspiring words, we’re always looking for quotes that remind us us to be our best selves and follow our passions. Today’s we’re feeling this one from Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Now tell us, what words inspire you?

*ONE LAST THING: We love this story of little Louisiana bookworm Sophia Moss, who at just  5 years old has already finished 875 books.  Here’s to Sophia, a real Go Girl! who is doing what she loves — and here’s to her family for supporting her. Hope she checks out our book, Starring Celia, when she’s ready!

Spark! Do Americans Overprotect Our Kids?

From Chapter 1 of "Starring Celia"  Illustration by Thorina Rose
From Chapter 1 of “Starring Celia” Illustration by Thorina Rose

*Some great parenting food-for-thought from Christine Gross-Loh, author of Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us: Gross-Loh argues, among other things, that parents need to let their kids take risks, go hungry from time to time and “fuel their feelings of frustration.” She concludes in a recent blog on The Huffington Post: “[T]hough parents around the world have the same goals, American parents like me (despite our very best intentions) have gotten it all backwards.” What do you think of her advice?

*Looking for more time to talk, exercise and just be with your girls during these last few days of school? We are inspired by this smart mom from Glendale, Calif. who “organized a walking school bus, a group of children that walks together to and from school under the supervision of an adult, usually a parent volunteer or teacher. It’s like a carpool, except without the car and traffic—with the added benefits of increased physical activity and socialization with friends and neighbors.”  Read more on Good, where you will also find links that will help you set up a walking school bus of your own.

*And speaking of the end of the school year,  here are some good ideas for keeping your kids creative this summer (and indulging their love of tech gadgets): Common Sense Media just published a list of great age-appropriate resources in an article called Digital Fun for Creative Kids: “Creativity is more than arts and music — making, tinkering, and experimenting are all ways kids can be creative. Whether they want to write code for a video game or make an origami crane, kids can explore their creative side with some of our favorite apps, games, and websites. Let the making begin!”

*ONE LAST THING: Make sure to check out a powerful blog by our own Lynn Johnson about helping girls be critical consumers of media, just published on the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History website: “Engaging girls as makers is the best antidote to the passive consumption of the media that permeates their lives 24/7.  Girls can tell their truths.  They can stand up to images and ideas that make them feel unsafe, unseen, or undervalued.”

Spark! Helping Girls Dream Big

Photo Feb 22, 11 40 40 AM*We all want the girls in our lives to dream big! That’s why we were so excited to see these 7 Easy Actions to Inspire Your Daughter to Dream Big, all wrapped up on a brand new blog entry on Girls Can’t What?. We especially connected with this great piece of advice:  “Be sure she takes time out daily to dream and be creative. Start with just 5 minutes. That will impact her life in unexpected ways in our overscheduled, busy lifestyles. (If she doesn’t have 5 minutes, then we need to talk.)”

*… and here’s another great list of 7 important tips: How to Raise Assertive Kids Who Speak Up for Themselves and Others: 7 solutions to help kids develop self-confidence, buck peer pressure and speak up for themselves, a new article from Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. Among her advice is this gem that connects so strongly with what we believe at Go Girls!: “Kids… tell us they gain that confidence…by entering into activities, clubs, teambuilding, etc. and the earlier the better. So provide opportunities for your child to be a member of a team, take charge of a project or lead others. You might also enroll your child in public speaking or theatre to build confidence in speaking in front of others. ”

*Now it’s your turn to help make a list: On the Pigtail Pals blog, Melissa Wardy is looking for input from other girl advocates who were disturbed by Disney’s sexy makeover of Brave’s plucky protagonist Merida: Right now, Wardy wants to use your input to “create a list of 5-7 Action Items that creatively lays out steps Disney can take to make this right…By using our consumers voices to talk *with* a corporation (as opposed to making demands from) we demonstrate to the people inside that we understand they are friends and parents and neighbors who may not completely understand the issue or how to get out of it. This community believes in ‘When you know better, you do better.’ Let’s show Disney how they can do better.” What do you think Disney should do?

*ONE LAST THING: The 12 middle school girls serving this summer on the Go Girls! Leadership Team spent May 18 and 19 together in Santa Rosa, CA to bond with each other, learn about leadership, and share their gifts and talents. Check out the highlights of some of their magical moments on YouTube!

Spark! Ideas for Supporting Girls (And Fighting Back Against Bully Behaviour)

Day-1*We love celebrating girls — and all the amazing people who support them! That’s why we are all about a cool 10 day campaign launched by Toward the Stars: “As we continue to see big corporations misrepresent our girls in media, marketing and toys we want to take a moment to acknowledge the people that work tirelessly to create sustainable mission driven businesses or not for profit organisations that provide great resources and positive options for our daughters. For 10 days we will be featuring  the most amazing allies that inspire Girls to be Strong, Smart and Daring.” Today is Day 5, and we are feeling inspired by the editors’ daily picks! Make sure to check them out on the Towards The Stars blog!

*We’re also feeling pretty excited about this June 9 webinar about girl friendship issues being hosted by New Moon Girls:  There, girls 7 to 9 can learn how to “make friends, keep friends, be a friendly person, deal with sticky issues and what to do when they experience inconsistent friendship. Girls will learn the do’s & don’ts of friendships, how to be assertive with friends, and how to handle conflict with friends.” It costs $35 to join the webinar, which will be led by Kimber Bishop-Yanke, M.I.M., founder of GirlsEmpowered.

*…And speaking of teaching girls to be good friends and allies: On May 15, Girl Scouts launched BFF (Be a Friend First),  a national initiative to prevent bullying targeting middle school girls. What Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez had to say about this new program really resonated with the Go Girls! mission: “Giving girls the skills, support, and tools they need to stand up for themselves and others is a key component of leadership. We are creating a program that, with the guidance of adults, can help girls to make their world a better place on an issue that is important to them.”

*ONE LAST THING: It can be hard for all of us to quiet the critical voices in our heads. Taking time to daydream and create a vision of what we want can help us start to picture ourselves as the star of our own story! Read Go Go Girls! author Allison Kenny’s recent blog post about how the character she created for Starring Celia learned to do just that (and how you can help your daughters take center stage in their own lives!)