In honor of Mother’s Day, we want to talk women. Women rock! We are smart, strong, playful, loving, nurturing, tough, funny, good listeners and talkative. As women, and as parents, we rely on our community of friends. We want our girls to develop their own strength that comes both from within and from their community. Girl Group, in Atwater Village, helps them figure out how to do just that. Discover the growing place that offers classes, workshops and camps just (mostly) for girls.
What is Girl Group?
The mission of Girl Group is to create a space where girls can think, ask questions, share knowledge and work together to figure out their changing world. The inspirational women who created and run the group are committed to creating a strength driven, community-building experience for girls through talk, action and mentorship.
Now offering public and private workshops and camps, the group initially began with the weekly ‘Girl Group’ group meetings. Groups of Little Girls (7-10) or Big Girls (10-14) gather weekly to explore a weekly theme and learn concrete tools and strategies to help navigate the journey to adulthood. Girls use writing, conversation, art and movement to work through these topics and the things that are currently going on in their own lives, relationships and friendships.
Like Girl Scouts, With Badges in Emotions
Each series of classes runs for 8 weeks and has a theme. For example, if the spring theme is “Metaphor,” girls play with old clichés and create their own metaphors to convey their thoughts and feelings. Within each theme, girls explore relevant topics like wonderful bodies, intuition, friendship, nest building, journal keeping, respect, active listening and stress management.
Like Vegas, Except, Not At All
One of the first rules of Girl Group is “what happens in Girl Group stays in Girl Group,” which allows the girls to feel free to say anything. And while every mom instinct is dying to ask what they talked about, resist. Because your patience just might be rewarded. Once they feel more comfortable with some of their thoughts and feelings, they’re more likely to share them.
OG GG Girls
“Girl Group is the group we wish we’d had when we were young.” That’s how the “original girls” and driving forces of the group describe it. These are women that you feel are your instant BFFs; it’s no wonder girls feel so comfortable sharing, learning and growing with them. They perfectly compliment each others skills: Wesley Stahler is a licensed marriage and family therapist, registered drama therapist and early childhood mental health clinician. Tanya Ward Goodman is a writer who focuses on family and caregiving topics. Both are mothers of young daughters, so they get it as girls and they get it as moms. In fact, there’s no one better to explain where the need Girl Group arose, and their guiding principles.
Wesley: “My need to begin Girl Group began from my longing to inherit a guide from my mother when I was 10. This was the year my parents announced they were getting divorced. This imaginary guide from my mother would have shared her thoughts from when she was in elementary school on up on her development, socially, mentally and physically. I wanted to know that my thoughts, my feelings and my body were normal. I needed confirmation and guidance that I was ok.”
Tanya: “Dolly Parton said, ‘Find out who you are and do it on purpose.’ But how to find out? I write to figure things out, so I always talk about keeping a notebook, but I encourage the girls to use what they find most useful. There are no rules, only suggestions. You can use a hammer to place a nail in the wall, but you can also use the hard sole of a shoe. Find your tool, use it the way that makes the most sense to you.”
Where the Parents Are
If Atwater Village is a little far for a weekly class, or you’re looking for a way to participate alongside your girl, they offer amazing (like life and relationship changing) workshops. Workshops change all the time, so check the website to see what’s coming up, but some past and upcoming workshops include Love Notes (where mom or dad and daughter bring in baby photos and work on strategies for cultivating tenderness and brainstorm ways to nurture each other, and themselves, the way you would care for a baby), Soothing Strategies (parent and child create an individual blend of tea and gain mindfulness tools) or Together Time (moms and daughters carve out time to really connect by making beaded bracelets that speak for you and talking about ways to stay connected even on tough days).
The success of these workshops has spurred the group to offer their first workshops for Mom only on how to mother yourself the way you mother your child, and the first parent-son workshop on Combating Boredom (aka, screen time stinks and other ways kids can amuse themselves when parents say they’ve had enough ipad play!).
Girls Of Summer
Woot woot! Girl Group is also launching a new summer camp this year. Spots are extremely limited for this one week June camp, so contact them now if it sounds like something your girl would like.
What About Boy Group?
Beyond the upcoming Combating Boredom workshop, there’s more male-ness coming to GG. Boy Group workshops are beginning this summer with weekly Boy Group beginning Fall 2016 being lead by a wonderful mindfulness teacher/practitioner, teacher at Marlborough School for Girls and father.
Growing Group for Growing Girls
A newer, bigger space is currently under construction and should be completed in September 2016. They’ve done so much so far, and we can’t wait to see what else they can do, with more space and bigger digs!
Do you know of other groups, workshops or classes where girls talk and support each other? We’d love to learn about them!
All photos by Jeff Wong for Girl Group. All rights reserved.