do the right thing

So, my sudden inspiration to get out there and help kids is taking a little longer than I thought. My interview with 826 is on August 18. One month away, and I have some free time now. So, while I wait for that, I’m going to help out at some meal-services-for-the-homeless food preparation events, and an organization I will call GrrlQuest (for the purposes of geographic obscurity)!

Here’s a description of this outdoor-adventure org:

At GrrlQuest, we are committed to helping girls sustain the clarity, voice and self-confidence that they risk losing during the difficult transition to adolescence. Our programs are designed to help each girl regain and sustain her “true self” by developing and expressing her strengths. We strive to:

  • Provide opportunities for girls to express thoughts and feelings, to work and play with a community of other girls and women
  • Facilitate a process for girls to learn about themselves through their relationships with others
  • Encourage leadership and self-discovery through outdoor adventure and creative arts
  • Help girls discover strength and talent through a range of verbal, physical and creative self-expression activities

Core to our success and unique to GrrlQuest is our commitment to bringing together girls from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. The rich diversity of the participants on our courses provides a rare opportunity for adolescent girls to embrace what makes each of them unique and to learn about and appreciate the differences in others.

GrrlQuest was founded on the belief that every girl has natural strengths including courage, creativity, leadership, intuition, body wisdom, and compassion that will help her develop into a healthy woman. Investing in girls—particularly in the critical pre-adolescent phase by encouraging them to stretch beyond their comfort zone and explore new physical and creative activities that nurture and exercise their strengths—can provide a lasting impact that girls carry with them throughout their teenage years. At GrrlQuest, we encourage physical and creative risk-taking in a safe and supportive environment

Through our single gender programs we explore self, community, culture, and the environment through outdoor adventure, creative arts, and group experiences. All of our programs provide our girls with opportunities to: 1) experience physical success; 2) express creativity; 3) celebrate girls’ diverse identities; 4) practice group decision making and problem solving; 5) develop community responsibility; 6) engage in healthy conflict resolution; and, 7) cultivate a sense of appreciation and stewardship for nature and the environment.

Unfortunately, I can’t rock climb, so I can’t be a mentor. I could help out with one of the outdoor adventures, but I am sort of tied to my desk, and can’t spare one week retreats to take the girls camping, hiking, etc. I am certain I could hike 10 miles roundtrip, but less certain I could do that with 50 lbs on my back, and I lack gear and money to buy that gear. Thus, I will be helping out this laudatory organization by packing lunches and supplies for the girls and greeting them warmly upon their return and helping out with “graduation” ceremonies. Pretty lame contribution, I know.

Hey, I’m doing what I can. I have very limited skills. I am a good educator, but I don’t have IT skills or much physical strength. So I figure I will teach kids how to read good, pack lunches for girls with a sense of adventure, help feed the homeless at the next “A Place at the Table.” Yeah I am also considering Habitat for Humanity, but I lack building skills or a sense of spatial geometry. Can anyone tell me about their experiences with HfH?

5 thoughts on “do the right thing”

  1. I don’t know anything about HfH, but I’ve been a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer for about 5 years now and I love it. I’ve had two “little sisters” in that time, and have really had a chance to mentor someone while also getting to hang out and do kid things sometimes (don’t we all love an excuse to do that?). I help her with homework, take her to the movies, museums, do crafts, cook etc. I can’t say enough about BBBS organization. They really support their “matches” with discounts and activity ideas, and they are VERY open and accepting to gay and lesbian volunteers, which I thought was very cool.

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  2. Sounds like a great group! Note that the Web site states no experience is necessary for being a mentor. (“Rock climbing experience is not necessary.”)

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  3. Wow, you found out my super secret location, which is one step away from my super secret identity! :-) (kidding, I am the worst kept secret…)

    Ok, ok….I admit that no experience necessary. But for my fear of heights, and fear of rockclimbing. I would be the worst mentor ever! I am bad at even climbing up and down steep trails, even though I hike a lot.

    And Watershed, thanks for the tip! I am so glad to hear that!

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  4. If I had had GrrrlQuest, I wonder if I would be more adventurous about confronting my fears!: “Investing in girls—particularly in the critical pre-adolescent phase by encouraging them to stretch beyond their comfort zone and explore new physical and creative activities that nurture and exercise their strengths—can provide a lasting impact that girls carry with them throughout their teenage years. At GrrlQuest, we encourage physical and creative risk-taking in a safe and supportive environment”

    I almost feel like taking on rock climbing just to show girls that wusses like me at my age can escape comfort zones and explore creative physical risk taking!

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  5. Rock climbing has a bad rap, I think because of the heights. The risk is extremely low: at any real course, you’ll be well tied in, with redundant ropes and experienced guides. (I would suspect the rates of injury, etc. are lower than most recreational sports.) It is as physically challenging as you make it, which is to say, it can be not-so strenuous. If you have the notion BL, that it will be a challenge, then take it! You’ll be proud of the accomplishment you’re sure to enjoy.

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