You can tell that we have great girls because any of them who woke up early in the morning stayed nice and quiet. We had cereal, toast and fruit for breakfast and packed up all our stuff to free up the parlour before migrating back downstairs to our usual room.
We started off the morning by watching some of the Dove self-esteem videos. The first one showed two teenagers showing us how models can be changed using nothing but special effects. The second, showed a model’s evolution from real girl to billboard. We watched each video twice so we could chat between each time.
Since the girls really enjoyed the videos, we showed them another couple I had found online. The first was of a signer being photoshopped as she sang. It was interesting for the girls to see that it’s not just pictures that can be enhanced.
The second video (To This Day) we decided not to show all of, but felt that the first half (until 3:10) was worth showing the girls.
After the videos, we had the girls moving around a bit and discovered their new favourite game. We passed out a playing card to each girl and without looking at it, she was supposed to hold it up to her forehead and walk around interacting with everyone else. A high-value card meant that you were important and should be treated well. A low value card meant that the opposite. After a couple minutes, we had girls try to line-up based on what they guessed their number might be. We played quite a few times so that every girl got to see what it was like being on different ends of the spectrum and because they wouldn’t stop requesting it!
After the game, we did another one of the girls’ favourite activities: skits. We passed out pieces of paper with various situations for the girls to act out and decide how to react to. After their skits, the rest of the group had to give them a thumbs-up or thumbs-down depending on how they chose to act.
– A new girl to your class doesn’t talk to anyone and doesn’t seem very friendly.
– A girl you know brushes by you in the hall and ignores you when you try to talk to her.
– Your friends plan to do something together on the weekend and they don’t ask you to join them.
– You see someone eating lunch alone in the cafeteria
– One of your best friends decides that she doesn’t want to be your friend anymore and tries to convince everyone else to stop talking to you
After the skits, we taped a piece of paper to everyone’s back and had fun walking around writing nice things about each other on everyone’s back. The piece of paper made for a nice souvenir for everyone to take home.
Then came lunch, but we couldn’t have a normal lunch, now could we? As the girls sat down, gave each of them a funky utensil and a plate of spaghetti. They had a great time attempting to eat and at least a couple of them ended up eating with no utensils at all!
After lunch, we worked on some lists. We divided the girls into two groups and for the first lists, we had one group come up with good and bad words we use to describe boys and the other group do the same thing for boys. It was interesting to see which words appeared for only one gender and which ones appeared in both groups’ lists. For our second lists, we had one group think of their role models and one group look at pictures of women in magazines and come up with words to describe them. Once again, comparing the lists lead to great conversations.
Next came the activity I found most entertaining. I had previously pulled three of our girls apart and asked them for their help. I told them that we would be having popcorn for snack and that they had to convince everyone to eat it straight away but that they couldn’t tell anyone I had talked to them. They were very excited to be in on the secret. When it was time for snack, I popped some popcorn and then asked another few girls to come into the kitchen to help carry it out. Here’s the catch: As I handed them the popcorn, I also handed out some leftover veggies and fruit from lunch and nonchalantly asked them to tell everyone that I wanted all the fruit and veggies gone before they started on the popcorn. The activity worked exactly as we had hoped! The two sets of girls were trying to convince everyone to do opposite things — it was a great display of peer pressure. As leaders, we probably should have stayed out of the room because we ended up in hysterics as more and more girls came over to us begging us to tell them whether they could eat the popcorn. We couldn’t stop laughing for long enough to answer them but I think they figured out that it was a game because they ended up eating the whole snack and more. Ten minutes later, a bystander could see half of our girls crowded around the huge old-fashioned microwave animatedly yelling pop every time the popcorn popped!
After snack, we sat back down in a circle and spread a roll of paper out on the ground. We picked our smallest girl and traced her out on the floor. Then, going around the circle, each Guide went up to the paper doll, said something mean and tore off a piece of her. After going all the way around, we tried to put her back together again. We said nice things and tried to tape the pieces, but, as expected, she wasn’t the same. It was lovely to see some of the quieter girls opening up and talking about how they are treated at school and what being bullied feels like.
We continued on with a few more team-building games (human-knot and a laughter circle) before finishing up the sleepover by writing a friendship contract. The girls worked together to find things they thought they could live by, write them all out and sign them.
By the end of the sleepover, all the girls earned the Girls United Challenge crest!