By Lisa Goudy
When almost 40 Grade 9-11 Central Collegiate Institute students went to Dallas Valley Ranch Camp for a Girls Leadership Camp last week, they had no idea how much more self-confidence they would have afterwards.
“Honestly I went for the horses. That’s the only reason I wanted to go,” said Grade 11 student Cierra Wood. “But I came out loving it.”
“I was really surprised by the amount of empathy that happened just because there’s so much talk in the halls about judgment,” added Grade 11 student Amina Ally. “I was so surprised by how quickly everyone empathized with everyone.”
Malinda Strueby, the physical education teacher at Central Collegiate, who was one of the leaders at the camp, said the first camp was done this past fall with Grade 9s only. After its success, the spring one was planned. Those types of camps are the first ones of their kind in Canada.
Along with school guidance counselor Tammy Saylor and Five Hills Health Region representatives Kirsten Clark, Lacey Flavel and Maegan Nestman, they sponsored, planned and delivered a camp with the theme: “You’re Beautiful. Pass it on!”
“The girls talked about feelings and just about how could we be better leaders, how could we get everyone’s backs and make sure everyone feels comfortable,” said Strueby.
Clark said she hopes the camp will lead to changes on a larger scale.
“As a mental health and addictions clinician, my hope is that more girls find support and don’t feel alone, that they don’t get to a place where they’re worse off,” said Clark. “My hope is that we have girls who can lead other girls and welcome other girls into their school.”
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.