I’ve been a little slow in recognizing the great job done being done by the Oakley Youth Advisory Council. I took this article from the Vesper Society’s March Newsletter.
Validation and empowerment are important to a child’s developing sense of self, and kids in Oakley , California , are helping themselves to a large dose of both. The city’s youth engagement initiative, “It’s A Girl Thing,” took top honors at the California Park and Recreation Society’s (CPRS) annual awards and training conference.
“The award means so much to the kids because this was something they helped create,” says Lindsey Bruno, Oakley’s recreation supervisor of youth programs. “It was a big deal for them because it wasn’t just Oakley recognizing them but the whole state.”
With support from Vesper Society and other partners, the Oakley Youth Advisory Council hosted the one-day event for middle school girls to help them form healthier habits for better health, self-esteem, educational achievement, and personal and family relationships. Girls chose from 12 workshops offered that day — “Help! My Parents are Driving Me Crazy” was a big hit — and spent time dancing, eating and, well — just being girls. Turnout was excellent, and using feedback from the 250 girls in attendance, Bruno and the Youth Advisory Council hosted a similar boys-only event. Over 150 middle schoolboys attended the one-day event last December. There were eleven sessions to choose from as well as a number of additional activities throughout the day. The guest speaker Frank Beede, a former Seattle Seahawk, focused his discussion on the importance of education and determination.
Another “It’s A Girl Thing” event is planned for April, and with the CPRS award in hand, there’s every reason to believe Oakley youth will keep the program going through 2011 and beyond