When I was a teenager, like most, I had no idea what life would look like beyond the concrete walls of high school. Though my school was relatively inclusive and representative of diverse interests, there was still a heavy focus on practicality vs. risk-taking. As a teenager, there was never talk of how to dream big, engage in a larger community, or start a business. We left school with a work ethic, and a drive to succeed, but were not built up to believe that we could successfully grow our daydreams into something more. Today, more than ever, it is so important that young people recognize and harness their potential to become impassioned citizens of the world.
At Thrive’s Girls for a Change program, we believe that all girls can change the world – and with the perfect combination of quality experiences, opportunities, and confidence, they have the power to do so. Through our weekly leadership programming and our annual Girls for a Change Summit, we’re working to inspire the next generation of female leaders.
This year, on February 10, 2018 in the Student Union Building at Montana State University, hundreds of 8th-12th grade girls will come from across Montana and Wyoming to attend the annual Girls for a Change Summit; a day of exploration, inspiration, and mind-blowing fun. This day-long event is devoted to encouraging high school-age girls to step out of their comfort zones, try new things, and explore new areas of interests. Summit participants attend a series of exciting workshops throughout the day, as well as performances and keynote addresses from inspiring female role models.
Spurring from the stories of our incredible Keynote speakers, this year’s theme is “Grow Your Daydreams”. It‘s centered around the idea that you can have a hobby, a business idea, or an aspiration that can grow into something big! We are incredibly excited about our two dynamic keynotes who are both young entrepreneurs actively changing the world.
Courtney Klein, Co-Founder and CEO of SEED SPOT, works with entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to social problems. It all started when Courtney was a senior in college. She had a dream of creating an organization that empowered young people to impact the global community. She received a $1,000 seed grant with which she co-founded New Global Citizens, an organization that grew to serve over 10,000 youth and partnered with organizations in 33 countries. USA Today, Huffington Post, and others have profiled Courtney for her work.
Our other speaker, Samantha Ramirez-Herrera, is CEO and Co-Founder of Offtharecord, a creative content agency and digital magazine run by people of color with a focus on uplifting marginalized voices. She is also the founder of the Kick Ass Girl Pow Wow, a digital platform that celebrates and highlights girls and women who live OUT LOUD. Samantha has created content and told stories for some of the nation’s biggest businesses and organizations including Johns Hopkins Medicine, Ms. Foundation, Afropunk, and NBC. She is also a filmmaker, creative director, writer, mother, proud Mexico-born DREAMer, and a civil rights activist in her own right.
Prior to the summit, girls who will be attending choose the structure of their day by selecting from a myriad of workshops. Each hour-long session is fun, interactive, and fast-paced! This year’s workshops include storytelling through video, aerial dance, coding, cultural exploration through food, fashion design, jewelry making, yoga, improv comedy, self defense, and more. In addition, all girls attend musical and dance performances, dine together at lunch, and enjoy unstructured social time.
The Girls for a Change Summit is an opportunity for girls to experience something new; to challenge their perception of the world and look beyond the bubble of high school – and most importantly, to have a lot of fun! The cost to register is $25 and scholarships are available. To register please visit www.allthrive.org or call the Girls for a Change Program at 406-922-4241. We invite ANY girl in 8th-12th grade to attend and especially encourage girls from rural and reservation communities.
Greta Moore is the Girls for a Change Program Coordinator at Thrive, a Bozeman-area nonprofit that provides mentoring, education, and support for children and families. For more information, visit allthrive.org or call (406)587-3840.