Girls Summit held in Sherbrooke

By Lois Ann Dort    

SHERBROOKE – Today’s youth face many challenges, including finding a space to call their own — where they can be themselves and speak freely about their concerns, issues and feelings. The Girls Summit held in Sherbrooke on May 5 provided just such a space, as well as instructive workshops to help the girls of today become the great women of tomorrow.

Last weekend's summit was the second such event held in the Strait area, with a similar event held last fall in Port Hawkesbury. The summit idea formed organically from a program called Inspire, aimed at Grade 8 girls, held in Port Hawkesbury at Tamarac Education Centre and facilitated by the Antigonish Women's Resource and Sexual Assault Services Association (AWRCSASA). That program transformed into the Girls Taking Action group comprised of students: Destinee MacInnis, Erica Kehoe, Lauren Burton, Josie Melnick, Grace Embree, Tessa MacIsaac, and Mackenzi Chisholm with facilitator Faye Fraser, Violence Prevention Educator at AWRCSASA. The group meet weekly to plan events and social action projects including the Girls Summit.

“They are all committed to meeting weekly and planning, and creating ideas around self-love and body image,” said Fraser of the group members.

The Summit, for girls aged 9 to 15, had several workshops during the day including topics such as bettering our body talk, healthy relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. “We also played a lot of games...all of it was focused on trying to increase girls confidence, give them a chance to make new friends and target the awesome qualities that girls have.”

Just over 40 girls attended the event coming from Sherbrooke, Guysborough, Antigonish and surrounding areas.