Monday night local girls ages 8 to 18 gathered at The Liberty to learn how to have enduring self-confidence in spite of the challenges they face in life at the fourth annual Girls Empowering Girls Symposium.
With such craft projects as affirmation and vision boards leading participants to critical thinking about their lives and their futures, the symposium successfully encouraged the girls.
Shaelynn Reynolds, 10, is a veteran of the symposium. “I think it’s just a really good thing to build a girl’s confidence,” stated Reynolds, who believes the speaker is usually the most encouraging part of the evening.
Brooke Waddell, 12, agreed, “The guest speaker is the best part.” Waddell attended with one of the two Girl Scout Troops at the symposium.
The featured speaker this year was Kristan Seaford, who survived septic shock which lead her to spend 100 days in a medically-induced coma and caused her to become a triple amputee. In spite of these difficulties, she successfully parents five children with the aid of her husband and teaches group exercise classes as well as her other activities, which includes motivational speaking.
“I am so pleased,” Seaford said of the turnout Monday night. “I was a little worried because of the weather. We have such a dynamic group with a wide range of ages. Everybody seems so excited.”
Seaford explained to the girls, “how to get by the balls that life will inevitably get thrown at them. I want [the girls] to leave feeling like [they] have new coping skills.”
One of these skills is asking for help. “Asking for help is a great thing that we all need,” stated Seaford who also admonished the girls to be persistent. Seaford also said it was important to know what their end goal is and to keep it in mind when facing difficulties.
Participants were very engaged, asking Seaford several thoughtful questions including about life with prosthesis and how they work.
“I think it went really well,” claimed co-founder Misty Matthews. “Without our sponsors this year it would not have been so successful. And of course my volunteers that helped me set up, helped the girls with their projects and clean up.”
Because of the sponsorship of The Liberty, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, Chick-fil-A of Mount Airy and Surry-Yadkin Electric, Matthews did not have a high out-of-pocket expense to bring this event to Elkin.
Matthews plans to do a survey of participants as she plans for next year’s event. “Each year I have ideas to do more things with them,” stated Matthews. “We didn’t have much time to get community ideas from the girls this year, but I will ask them in the survey and hope to work with the girls or have [other people from the community] to help the girls achieve their ideas during the year.”
Most participants already were looking forward to the next event. “If you’re feeling down, just come and relax and have a good time,” recommended Reynolds.
To find out more about how to get involved with the Girls Empowering Girls Symposium by volunteering to help with activities, sponsor an event or attend one, call Misty Matthews at 336-749-4791 or go to www.facebook.com/girlsempoweringgirls.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.