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Girls Night Out

I want to tell you about the wonderful group of girls I get to hang out with.  These great youth and I created a program 3 years ago at All Saints’, Collingwood Ontario called “Girls Night Out”. It’s a program geared to girls aged 12-18 where they can come and talk about issues that affect their everyday lives. We talk about school, parents, bullies, boys, peer pressure and sooooo much more. We gab, gossip, eat and learn. No boys allowed!

What makes this program so awesome? The girls.  Over the last 3 years we have worked together to find how this program can benefit them the most from within the Church. Their input is invaluable and is ever-changing. I learn so much from them and I hope they learn a thing or 2 from me as well that will help them along the sometimes difficult journey through high school.

We spend the first 30-45 minutes on time that allows girls to come in a talk to me and their peers (I am a trained counsellor so don’t panic) on issues affecting their lives. They have a space to talk without interruption and get some neutral input that can perhaps help them through the tough space they are in. After that, the floor is open to anything and everything they want to discuss. And trust me, its’ anything and everything!

These young adults are so awesome and their honesty is great. They accept my “aged” status and laugh at my shocked looks when I learn some new fascinating teenage trend, ideal, word or issue.  They tell me about movies they’ve seen, things going on in their lives, issues with peers, issues with families, friends and boys. We talk about feelings, thoughts, and actions in both the positive and the negative sense. Between the texts, emails and Facebook notifications we carry on our evening in a fashion that works for all of us.

The girls created this program. They tailored it to work for them and for their friends. I couldn’t ask for a greater group of girls who are willing to listen, accept some neutral yet often hard questions and to respect our discussions. They each come from various backgrounds, lifestyles and issues but each one of them brings a wealth of good things to the group. They are not all brought up in the church, but are willing to be challenged and be part of the church setting.  It is so important to meet our youth where their lives are and for us as leaders to be relevant. We need to actually hear what they are saying and experiencing. Girls Night Out is a great opportunity to do just that.

 

Laura Walton

About Laura Walton

Laura Walton is part of the Youth Initiatives Team for the Anglican Church of Canada. She is the half time youth minister at All Saints', Collingwood and has a private counselling practice in the area as well. As the mom of 2 teenagers, a Preacher's Kid, and long time volunteer in the Diocese of Toronto Laura has worked in the field of youth and children's ministry on the ground floor level for many years. Laura has a love for sports, music and challenging the status quo which she brings to her work in youth and children's ministry.
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