Unlike many teens my age, I still actually check my emails on a daily basis. A few months ago I received an email from Girl Guides of Canada about something called the ELLE leadership training, and since I have been in the Guiding movement since sparks, I’ve had the pleasure of having opportunities to learn and grow as a leader. However, there are still so many things I wanted to learn, so I was very interested. Without knowing much about the program I sent in an application and happily (and surprisingly) got accepted.
All ramped up and ready to go, I got on a plane and flew to Montreal, still not 100% sure as to what I was in for. Just outside Montreal at a wilderness resort called Jouvance, I meet the other 33 girls participating in the event. This was the biggest group of ELLE participants the Girls Action Foundation had ever hosted.
Throughout the week we did sessions hosted be fabulously inspiring facilitators, on topics such as anti-oppression, networking, immigrants and accessibility, media and how to get the attention of big companies and how to get sponsors and gain allies. Honestly, I was totally engrossed, being surrounded by girls who care about the issues I do and wanted to do their best to change for the better was awe-inspiring. When we weren’t in sessions, or devouring delicious food, we still talked about the struggles, such as being a girl facing sexism or ageism (since we were all 16-25) which is where people treat or expect different things of you not because of ability or passion, but because of age.
We bounced ideas around, learned new group exercises and faced some tough topics. We knew from the beginning that if we really wanted to make a difference we would need to get down to the grit of it, and although sometimes uncomfortable, I came out with an understanding and view-point that I hadn’t already seen.
So I encourage anyone to apply for Guiding trips and events. You just might get accepted to a program the will give you a new perspective on topics that will be shaping our world. And you can be a leading force.
By Elizabeth, Kelowna, BC
This post was originally shared on the Girls Action Foundation blog Kick Action.ca. ELLE is a national leadership program offered by Girls Action Foundation to young women between 16 to 25 years of age. The ELLE program includes a 5-day leadership training, networking opportunities, and Leadership Capacity Grants. Through skill building, peer learning and reflection; young women develop personal and community leadership skills to foster social innovation.
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