Meet the Girls Advisory Board
When asked what outdoor activity she would be, Mielle responded: “I would be gardening, because I try hard to spread change and empowerment like seeds.” Mielle is in 10th grade and a member of GirlVentures’ Girls Advisory Board. She’s empathetic, inspiring and brave - as are her peers.
We recently chatted with Mielle and fellow GAB member, Sarah, about their experiences with GirlVentures and their plans for the future. Both girls are currently helping plan the Hike for Girls on Saturday, May 5, 2018. Learn about the hike and sign up to join us.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how you’re involved with GirlVentures.
Sarah: I'm a sophomore in high school in San Francisco, where I was born and raised. I was first introduced to GirlVentures in 8th grade through a friend who had done Girls Climb On the previous semester. I participated in GCO that spring and fell in love. I went on to do Transitions that summer and On the Rise the next. Last semester, I was the Assistant Instructor for Girls Climb on and I've been a part of the Girls Advisory Board since freshman year. This summer, I will be the Assistant Instructor for Redwood Adventure Rock.
Mielle: I live in Alameda and am in 10th grade. I've participated in Project Courage, Transitions, On The Rise and Girls Climb On, and now I’m a Girls Advisory Board member.
Q: How have you grown or changed since participating with GirlVentures?
Sarah: My first experience with GirlVentures in Girls Climb On was a transformative one. Before participating, I had a limited perception of myself. I had very firm ideas of what I was capable of doing and what I was not. It's not that I didn't think that girls could be strong or powerful. I had no shortage of female role models. I just didn't think that I was one of those girls.
When I climbed for the first time, something I had always been hesitant to try, I looked down at how far the ground was from me and realized that I got myself up there on my own. My body was capable of taking me thirty-some feet in the air. That realization, along with the support of everyone I have been lucky enough to meet through GirlVentures, changed everything. This is just a small part of what I've taken from the programs. I have much more confidence. I feel more comfortable in a leadership position. And I have learned that my assumptions about myself are not always accurate.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Girls Advisory Board?
Sarah: My favorite thing about being a part of the Girls Advisory Board is that I am able to continue working with the organization. I love GirlVentures, and GAB gives me the opportunity to see the friends I made on course and work more with mentors. It's also great to see the inner workings of GirlVentures.
Mielle: I like the knowledge that is being shared. I am growing up and will be able to put it to use. In particular, how we can make our impact and our community's impact more sustainable for the environment is very important right now.
Q: What do you plan to do after high school? Has GV influenced your post-high school plans? If so, how?
Mielle: I plan to go to college, but not a whole lot of specifics after that. GirlVentures, the Girls Advisory Board and being around the office have introduced me to a world of organizational work that didn’t really know before, but I think might be a good career fit for me later.
Q: What advice would you give a young girl thinking about participating on a GV course?
Sarah: Do it! You won't regret it! Don't let things like not knowing anyone on course or not having experience with many of the activities hold you back. On GirlVentures courses there is such a huge support system. Whether or not you've ever climbed or backpacked or even camped before, there will likely be people in the same boat. You'll learn so much from the instructors and other students. I met so many friends on course almost two years ago that I'm still close with. It's just a wonderful experience.
Mielle: Push yourself to participate. I was unsure and scared about going, but summer courses have been some of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. Challenge yourself to take that leap and go for it!
Q: On course and in GAB we play the game "Essence,” which helps us get to know each other better by revealing our relationships with features of the natural world. In the spirit of the activity, fill in the blank. If I were a tree I would be...
Mielle: A weeping willow. At their core they are very strong and stable, but their boughs are more unsure. I am secure in myself, but when I reach into new domain I can lose that confidence.
Sarah: An aspen, because their root systems are interconnected into a tree colony. I feel very connected and supported by my friends and family.
Meet Mielle, Sarah and our other amazing Girls Advisory Board members at our upcoming Hike for Girls on Saturday, May 5. Sign up to reserve your spot today.