Empowerment seminar runs for third year

The third-annual Women and Girls Empowerment Seminar took place here last week.
The seminar, formally known as the Girl Power camp, is aimed at giving girls the tools and contacts in the community to take care of themselves.
Ashlee Cochrane and Becky Hunter, youth workers at the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centre on Mowat Avenue, explained the program is meant to provide girls with opportunities.
“Basically, you get it right from the name,” Cochrane said. “[The seminar is meant] to empower women and girls among different avenues of their life.”
Ten girls took part in the three days of workshops and activities, which varied from speakers on healthy relationships and women’s health issues to positive body image and healthy dieting.
Hunter said the overlying theme of the week was simple.
“[It’s about] looking out for number one and keeping yourself healthy,” she explained.
Along with the learning experience during the week, the girls in the seminar also had the chance to take part in fun activities, such as swimming and going to a movie.
The program is well sponsored through the community, with the UMAYC receiving many donations to use as prizes throughout the week.
The grand prize for one of the girls was a three-night stay at a hotel with a guardian.
To encourage the girls to learn and pay attention, they had to complete questionnaires about each speaker to be entered in the draw for the prize.
“We’re not, by any means, trying to have them come away being experts on whatever our workshops are,” Cochrane said. “We are giving them a little bit of knowledge, enough to spark their curiosity, so that they are not afraid to ask if they need to.
“It is more to let know that these different people and these different resources are in the community; that they can turn to them,” she stressed.
The seminar was open to females aged 12-24.