Calling all high school girls!

I am thrilled to announce our 2016 Young Women’s Leadership Institute in partnership with Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest council in Charlotte, NC. Join us for an exciting opportunity to be a part of a diverse cohort of young women on a leadership journey of a lifetime.

Applications for our inaugural cohort and more information is available here. Watch the video below to learn more about our work and hear from some of our participants.  Click here to watch an extended version of this video.

*Originally written for www.leadbeyond.org by Val Swan

Young Women’s Leadership Camp Experience

We were thrilled to welcome 16 girls for a week long young women’s leadership program camp experience in July in partnership with the Girl Scouts Peaks to Piedmont council, which included two half day sessions at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).

The program began on a Sunday evening at Camp Keyauwee program center in Sophia, NC with a viewing of the film Odd Girl Out, based on the book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons, who has done important work on empowerment for girls, including co-founding Girls Leadership. This led to a powerful conversation around bullying and pressures young women face, and set up our objectives for the week, which included: understanding self and seeing ourselves as leaders in every day moments, values, social identity, mental models, strategies for managing conflict, and understanding what motivates and supports us to show up in the world as a person we are proud of.

Margaret Patterson Whitt and I facilitated packed sessions on these themes, and culminated the program creating an empowerment tapestry, which was a great tool that led the girls into creating their own posters containing messages they need to help them be their best selves.

We were also able to welcome in the Women’s Leadership Experience program participants for a quick impromptu hello and to show off what the girls had been up to, which was a very cool alliance that we can hopefully be more intentional about tapping into next time!

I am proud of the work we are doing. We are continuing to explore partnership expansion and scale opportunities with this initiative and are excited for the future.


Here is a snapshot of impact that we heard directly from the girls on their program evaluations from their time with us at CCL:

I learned:
“More about myself” “That girls can do anything” “How to be a better person and how I can help myself get better at stuff” “To lead big groups” “That people have different strengths and different interests” “How to stand up and be proud but not in a bad way” “About social values and things about myself” “About bullying and what to do to prevent it” “To work together and to be a girl and be proud of it” “To be a better leader, a better person, and a little about myself” “How to be a better leader”

I felt:
“That I had to let go of my black heart and have a red one” “Empowered” “Love” “A sense of empowerment” “Loved and more confident about myself” “Inspired by the information given” “Motivated when we did the empowering messages for girls” “Compassion, inspiration, hope, courage” “To be proud of yourself and how to be a leader” “I felt happy to know more about myself” “Special”

What will you do with this information?:
“Use it to be kinder and treat my peers better” “Spread it to other girls” “I will use it to help my middle school and make a difference in the world” “I will get rid of joking that might hurt someone’s feelings” “I will share with my peers and use it when I’m questioning myself” “Pass it on” “Be a better leader” “Share it and pass it on” “I will take the confidence I have here with me!”

*Originally written for www.leadbeyond.org by Val Swan

Girls Grow as Leaders with the Young Women’s Leadership Institute

Brainstorming what an ideal girl leader looks like!

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, the Leadership Beyond Boundaries (LBB) team was thrilled to welcome 53 young women leaders in 5th-12th grade from all across North Carolina, USA at our Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Greensboro, NC USA campus for our Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI) 101 program in partnership with the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont council, and with the great support of the Girl Scouts Hornet’s Nest council. The program is open to all girls and they do not need to be Girl Scouts to attend. This has been a growing partnership with Girl Scouts over the years, with two great programs running at Girl Scout camps last year, and this kickoff event for the new YWLI initiative was a huge success! We were overjoyed at the number of girls in attendance, and the exciting growing momentum of this initiative. Margaret Patterson Whitt, Sarah Miller and I facilitated a packed day of programming, including:

• Creating ideal girl leaders
• Teamwork
• Direction-Alignment-Commitment
• A robust career women’s lunch where the girls got to hear from a variety of outstanding women leaders, including Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, workshops on conflict
• MMTIC (Myers-Briggs personality profiles for youth).

The focus was on supporting and empowering each other and ourselves as female leaders.

Many girls were nervous about not knowing anyone when they arrived, but by the end of the day they graduated with new friends in their midst and were sad to leave. The participant wrote stellar evaluations and over the weekend emails rolled in about the girls coming home bubbling over with what they learned and discovered about themselves. Some girls took advantage of the optional overnight at Camp Keyauwee as well, and continued the fun with campfire activities and leadership on the rock climbing wall. We were so lucky to have a handful of our CCL staff’s daughters and granddaughters at the event!

Silly group shot!

Keep an eye out for two future YWLI programs in 2015: a week long summer camp opportunity July 19-24th at Camp Keyauwee for 6th-8th graders, including one day held at CCL on July 22nd from 10am-4pm, and a program for 9th-12th grade girls on healthy relationships at CCL on Saturday, October 24th, with an optional overnight at Camp Keyauwee.

*Originally written for www.leadbeyond.org by Val Swan