Girls’ self-esteem retreat set to go
Everything is coming together for the first “I Am Awesome! (And I Know It!)” retreat for girls aged 10-14, which is set to take place Sept. 26-29 at Hanson’s Hideaway Lodge in Nestor Falls.
More than 20 participants from across the district are confirmed to attend the event, which has been deemed as “a weekend journey of the heart, body, mind, and spirit, providing that being uniquely you is the perfect you.”
“My vision is that this weekend will nurture and develop self-esteem while exploring areas such as positive body image, peer pressure, confidence-building, exploring emotions, media influences, and much more,” she explained.
She noted the girls will discover more about themselves while participating in various workshops.
Martin-Brown has brought on board professional women who will teach the participants about drama, music, visual arts, yoga, creative writing, spirituality, and healthy cooking.
The presenters include Sylvie Matthews (discovering your passions), Kathy Loney (yoga), Katherine Williams (drama), Wendy Turcott (visual arts), Bethany Bullock (self-esteem education), Carrie Shouldice (creative writing and journaling), Diane Clifford (discovering spirituality, faith, hope, and love), and Maureen Hanson (healthy cooking).
“I’ve gone to women who inspire me and are experts at what they do,” Martin-Brown explained.
“And we’ve come together to provide this amazing experience for these girls so that when they leave, this weekend has changed their life.
“That’s my goal.
“I know that we can do that,” she continued. “I know that we will be able to touch them in some way.
“One of these workshops will be the one that connects with them.”
Martin-Brown said all the presenters were able to get together last month for a planning meeting.
“It was amazing to just get on the same page,” she remarked. “We were able to find some continuity of themes for the weekend, knowing that we really wanted to target confidence, self-acceptance, and self-love.
“Each one of the workshops will touch on the same aspects,” she added.
“We thought it would be important to pick three main aspects so each workshop will have unity between them.”
While Martin-Brown didn’t want the registration fee for the retreat to be a barrier for anyone, many of the participants held fundraisers throughout the summer, including some group events, such as a “Music in the Park” fundraiser in July and a bake sale on Scott Street during “Market Thursdays.”
“It was really amazing to see the girls come together and get to know each other before they attend the retreat together,” Martin-Brown said.
“It gave them an opportunity to see who else is coming and get to know one another on a personal level.
“It was neat for me to see the different dynamics of the girls because they come from all over the district,” she added, noting the girls also will be joined at the retreat by several youth mentors aged 16-18.
“I think they will really be able to relate to the younger girls,” Martin-Brown noted.
“They have high school experiences and different life experiences, and I think they will be more in tune with the girls and the different issues they might be facing.”
Two of the youth mentors are from Fort Frances, as well as one from Red Lake and one from Dryden.
“I’m really excited to see how they can mentor the young girls and just the connections that are going to be made there,” Martin-Brown enthused.
The participants will be receiving welcome bags, which will include an “I Am Awesome! (And I Know It!)” hoodie, a journal, and some other fun gifts.
They also will receive an iTunes gift card, which Martin-Brown hopes they will use to purchase some inspirational songs.
“I’m giving them a list of my favourite inspirational songs that I think have such a great message for girls nowadays about being brave, confident, and being themselves,” she explained.
“So hopefully they will download that list.
“And that will be the playlist that we will listen to through the weekend, so all of our music is inspirational.”
Shy-Anne Hovorka, an award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer, will be the special musical guest, who will perform for the retreat participants on the Friday night.
“I’m looking forward to her being able to inspire the girls through music,” Martin-Brown said. “She’s such a great mentor for all youth.
“It’s going to be fun to have a private concert around the campfire, so I’m looking forward to that.”
She also hopes the girls all become friends.
“When you are together for four days, it’s going to happen quickly,” Martin-Brown remarked, noting she’s going to create a Facebook group for the participants after the retreat so they can stay connected.
“If they want to share their best experiences of the retreat, what they’ve learned, or if they are feeling down and need some encouragement, they know they have the group of girls who understand where they are coming from,” she reasoned.
“When the weekend is over, we want to make sure they still have resources and people they can count on,” Martin-Brown stressed, noting her goal is to make the “I Am Awesome! (And I Know It!)” retreat an annual event.
“I’m getting excited but I’m a little bit nervous,” she admitted. “I’ve had this vision for the last six months of what it’s going to look like and now I’m just trying to bring that vision together.”
Martin-Brown would like to thank those who have supported the retreat emotionally, financially, in prayer, by attending fundraisers, or donating items for the welcome bags.
For more information about the retreat, visit www.i-am-awesome.ca