Did I give her enough savvy to navigate credit/debit financial literacy, branding and budgeting? Does she have body awareness and boundaries to carve out her own comfort zone in complicated core relationships from dating to roomies?
Will she figure out that interning could help her declare a major better than book smarts? Was she listening when I shared cool campus safety apps like Circle of 6 to get yourself out of a jam with subtle style or was she OVER confident with her “I’ve got this” bravado?
For the first time ever, SureFire Girls.com a brand new life skills conference for teens has come on the scene, with an action-packed, fun-filled day of speakers and workshops that add hands-on learning to the real world topics they don’t teach in school. NOW they tell me.
Wish I’d had this last year to prep for life transitions, as it’s all happening Oct 12, 2013 in L.A., at the Santa Monica Art Institute with leaders from inspiring organizations ready to help teens find their path, voice, and glimpse of opportunities ahead, in strong, spirited style that almost shouts, ‘Are you ready? Let’s do this!’
It’s fitting that SureFire Girls is taking an ‘innovate to educate’ approach, since that’s the theme of the U.N. International Day of the Girl taking place the day prior. It not only fills in learning gaps, it gives teens and the parents who love them a compressed capsule of life literacy that will serve them well at any age.
According to SureFire Girls founder Heather Mason, who also runs event planning firm A Caspian Production, this is just the beginning, a pilot project sneak peek conference for a larger event in 2014.
They’re planning on adding a younger teens track called ‘Spitfire Girls’ for tweens and a collegiate version for older girls with ambassadors on campus, and plan on traveling around the country to major cities with snowballed momentum, tapping local leaders and organizations for knowledge sharing and support.
“What if there was a place where you could ask questions about where you’re going in life and how to get there?”
They answer that query with a line-up of superstar speakers and specialists for teens and parents.
From opening keynote entrepreneurs like Lauren Berger, of Intern Queen.com, and Asha K, millennial media producer, start-up and creator of new platform GirlTalk HQ.com (profile/interview forthcoming) …
…To terrific topics for parents ranging from digital literacy with Randi Zuckerberg of Dot Complicated (related write up by SureFire Girls’ founder Heather Mason on teens navigating tech) and closing keynote speaker Betty DeGeneres (yes, “Ellen’s mom”) on the complexities and joys of mother/daughter relationships, entrepreneurship and success…
…SureFire Girls has the energetic appeal to entice both ends of the age spectrum with some serious knowledge dropping.
As a media literacy maven and critical thinking hound, I’m throwing my support behind the conference as a ‘media sponsor’ as I truly believe this is the stuff that gets ‘left out’ of the parenting knapsack, no matter how hard we try to cram it in.
We all know that teens often listen to ‘experts,’ peers, mentors, and sometimes young women simply closer to their own age and life experiences, often saying the exact same thing parents have tried to instill over a lifetime.
I see it in my own work with hands-on games using media and entertainment devices as “M-power” to lift and reveal agendas and give youth those precious ‘aha’ moments when they ‘get it.’
Parents shake their heads and say, “How’d you DO that? I’ve been telling them that forever and NOW they listen to YOU? Whaaa?” As a parent, I realize it feels unfair.
But there’s something about participatory, experiential learning from someone other than dear ol’ mom and dad that can embed deep concepts in critical thinking seeping in sideways as an intellectual shield and a saber to fight the billions of dollars invested in marketing and media messages going after hearts and minds for profit.
In “You can’t make this stuff up” clarity, I strongly feel we need to literally “show and tell” how key players in the beauty industry for example, are strategically and deliberately studying how to mine insecurities down to the time of day women are most vulnerable!
It can be upending. Or it can be education ‘ammo’ to get to girls’ FIRST with education and create an invisible cloak of knowledge and critical thinking. The more life literacy, the better equipped girls are to enter the world with sure-footed wisdom to find their own North Star without the compass going ‘sproing.’
Youth often purport to be über-street savvy on branding, social media technology, even body image, relational aggression and career paths, but at the developmental core, it’s nascent ‘Ancora Imparo—I am still learning.”
SureFire Girls is a salute to that lifelong learning…for teens…for parents…for anyone. So, mind the gap…Better yet, fill it with knowledge. Hope to see you there.
Next up? Stay tuned for profiles on SureFire Girls workshop leaders Asha K and Melanie Klein as we continue “All Things Girl” coverage for this week’s International Day of the Girl. Hope to have our new Shaping Youth.org updated site launched soon too!
Recent “All Things Girl” Series on Shaping Youth By Amy Jussel
From the Archives: Shaping Youth’s All Things Girl Series in Honor of International Day of the Girl