Adventure in Girls, Inc.

It has begun. Yesterday at 3:30 p.m. I put on my red t-shirt, got in my car and drove to the west side of Indianapolis. I met with my session coordinator and my partner as we prepared for our first session of Media Smarts.

I’d had the flu this week, so nerves and fevers are alternating in my head as we hang up signs and lay out magazines and newspapers waiting for the girls to get up stairs. And as we wait for some very important Girls Inc women to arrive including the CEO and Regional Director. That’s not intimidating for a lady on her first session of her first cycle ever.

What if I’m awful at this? What if this affirms that not majoring in education was the right choice? What if I’m a jerk!?! My head floods with questions about my capabilities and inadequacies as a teacher and woman. What if I’m actually the world’s worst role model? I’m already not a great one. What if I’m just truly crap?! What if middle schoolers hate me more than they did when I was actually a middle schooler?

Well the session came and went, and while ten 11-year-old girls make for a very chatty bunch we made it through the first round. The very important women stayed all the way through and were quite nice about it all, but when women are working with girls trying to teach them to be strong, smart and bold…my brain floods again. What if they’re just being nice so I don’t hate myself later? What if they say that to everyone? Was I monster? I felt like a monster. I didn’t learn all of their names. I couldn’t read all of their name tags. I pointed. I pointed at girls whose names I didn’t know. I’m a jerk. I’m a pointer. Why can’t I just be a human? Middle schoolers don’t really know about sarcasm yet. I don’t care what the Mighty Ducks tried to convey. I probably need this class more than they do.

It went pretty well. I’m looking forward to next week.

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3 thoughts on “Adventure in Girls, Inc.

  1. Hi, Hayley

    Thank you for being a good sport about letting us visit your program yesterday. We had an out of town guest from the national staff, and she really wanted to see a program. I realize that put extra pressure on you and your partner, but–like all Strong, Smart, and Bold women–you really came through. Despite the “audience”, despite the remnants of the flu, and despite the uncertainty that you felt, you really came through. Trust me, the next time will be much easier and probably more fun for you.

    You developed a good rapport with the girls, and you were able to allow them to have fun without losing control of the program. All of that requires great interpersonal skills and good judgement. You also did a good job of asking questions and waiting for the girls to develop their answers. That is a difficult skill because those few moments of silence seem so empty. It is a real gift to do facilitation well, and you did. Most of all, it was clear that the girls really “got” the material, and they were achieving the outcomes planned for that first session.

    So, you have a lot to be proud of having successfully completed your first session. I was very proud to be able to show our Regional Director such a high quality program. I am also very grateful to you, your partner, and to all of the wonderful women who take time out of their busy schedules and challenge themselves to help inspire girls. Please accept my sincere thanks for a job well done!

    Pat Wachtel, President & CEO
    Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis

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