One highlight of my summer has been meeting with our oldest female campers to discuss relationships, goals, and life. These girls have so much wisdom to share with each other and with adults.
We meet on the middle Sunday of their two-week camp session. We spend two hours doing activities together and sharing ideas about strengths, owning our opinions, the anatomy of trust, identifying positive role models, and setting goals. The girls are going into 9th or 10th grade, and many of them are in their final year as campers.
We asked the older girls (the ones going into 10th grade) to share advice with the younger ones (the girls starting high school soon), and I was blown away by their wisdom. Here is the advice the 10th graders shared.
Advice from 10th grade girls to 9th Graders
• No matter what you’ve been through in the past, you’ll find like-minded people. Be yourself, then you’ll find the right people.
• Join clubs, do charity work and join teams outside of school.
• Keep an open mind about meeting new people.
• Take advantage of the opportunities given to you.
• Go for what you want to do – not just what others are doing or what is perceived as “cool.”
• Hang out more with people, not on your screens.
• Don’t abandon your old friends.
• Expect the highs and lows of high school. There will be hard times. Be the bigger person. Don’t start drama. Don’t go behind people’s backs. Things have a way of working out. Don’t lose hope!
• Don’t wait for other people to talk to you. Be proactive.
• Truly be yourself. You’ll find real friends when you’re being yourself.
• You don’t have to be perfect.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In authentic friendships, you rely on each other.
• Don’t worry about what other people think of you.
• Meet a lot of people. Don’t just get stuck with one group.
• Do a lot of activities you’re interested in. Get involved.
As I listened to the girls share, I was struck by how their advice works not just for high school, but for all of life.
We also asked all of the girls to write down someone who is a positive role model for them. Several girls mentioned their moms, sisters, and teachers.
My school counselor
Susan B. Anthony
Carrie Hope Fletcher
My leadership teacher
My friend Jackson Westbrook
My dance teacher Emily
My 11th grade English teacher
My friend Jesse Wald
A family friend Kayla
My friends Ruby and Shea
My 8th grade English teacher
My 11th grade english teacher
My sister, Caroline
My 8th grade science teacher
My English teacher
My sister and brother
My mom and brother
My brother Henry
My 9th grade bio teacher
My 8th grade history teacher
Characteristics and Actions to be More Like My Role Model
Next, we asked the girls to share characteristics they can develop or actions they can take to be more like their role model. Here is what they came up with.
Be real not perfect
Never give up
Stand up for what i believe in
Develop a strong sense of individual value and worth
Authentic and not afraid to be myself
Help everyone who needs it and make a difference
Seek out things and experiences that inspire me daily
Kind to everyone
Selfless and optimistic
Being able to grow and learn from mistakes into a mature woman who can make a difference
Learn to love others, but most importantly myself
Be confident in myself
To be brave and myself through the worst of things
Loosen up and know not everything has to be perfect
Don’t do stuff just to fit in
Actions > words
Persevere through tough times
Always be kind
Take care of myself
Be confident in my own skin
Friends with everyone
Surround yourself by what you love
Work harder at what I want to do
True to oneself
Helping others whenever possible but not at the extent of my own happiness
Doing things for others without having to be asked
Be a leader
A sense of creative knowledge that expands beyond myself and having an open mind and acceptance to be Vulnerable
Work for what you want
Works hard, but makes time for passions
Accepting and loving of everyone
Selfless and to be the person you want to be rather than who others want you to be
Hard worker, open-mindset
Contagious smile and willing to try EVERYTHING and sweetest person in the entire world
Be selfless and loving
Be the same person around everyone, honest with myself and others
Happy and positive, makes everyone feel important and special
Charismatic, energetic, joyful
Be kind to everyone I meet, find great friends
Confident, does whatever makes them most happy
selfless , independent, strong, inspiring
Seek out experiences that inspire me daily
Be vulnerable with people
Balanced, kind to everyone, joyful, and thankful
Know their goals and be determined to reach them
Nice and sweet to everyone
Makes an effort to get to know everyone she meets
Hardworking, caring, loving, independent, selfless and makes everyone around them smile
Surround yourself with people you love
Uses voice to inspire change
Makes an effort to get to know everyone she meets
Generous, positive, and hardworking
Be confident in who you are, surround yourself with positive and loving people
Putting others before yourself but respecting time alone
Infinite amounts of kindness and courage
We need to give our youth more opportunities to reflect and to share their wisdom with each other and with us. Spending time with these amazing young women is such an honor.