The Wisdom of High School Girls

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.

Role Models

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

My mom

My grandma

My brother

Susan B. Anthony

Audrey Hepburn



Ariana Grande

My cousin

Carrie Hope Fletcher

My dad


My leadership teacher

Mother Teresa

My sister

My counselors

My friend Jackson Westbrook

My dance teacher Emily

My cousin

Michelle Obama


Rosa Parks

Brene Brown

My 11th grade English teacher

Peanut Butter

My friend Jesse Wald

A family friend Kayla

Alice Conklin

My coach

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 mom

My sister and brother

My mom and brother

My dad


My mom

My sister

Emma Watson



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

Support everyone


Stand up for what i believe in

Unconditional love


Love others

Take risks

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

Inspire others

Learn to love others, but most importantly myself

Support others

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

Self confident

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

Start conversations

True to oneself

Helping others whenever possible but not at the extent of my own happiness

Make sacrifices

Doing things for others without having to be asked

Be strong

Be a leader

A sense of creative knowledge that expands beyond myself and having an open mind and acceptance to be Vulnerable

Finding balance

Work for what you want

Works hard, but makes time for passions

Accepting and loving of everyone

Be happy

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

selfless/unconditional love

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.


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