The Story of GirlPower: Be Who You Are!


By Susanne Liebich

About 15 years ago, my daughter, who was 12, started going through puberty. At that time, I noticed changes in her personality, physical appearance and emotional being which indicated my days of having a “little girl” were over. While I tried to accept this, I also felt her safety, her health, her learning and even her self-care were increasingly out of my control. Although we were careful in what media to expose her to when she was younger, it was becoming more difficult to protect her from outside influences when she was outside the home. My daughter, and other girls of her age, were barraged with media images on the internet of skinny young women. These images evolved into unrealistic expectations of looking like a supermodel which developed into insecurities about weight, body image, beauty and social acceptance.

I felt girls needed something completely different.

As a mother of a preteen girl, my observation was that perhaps what girls needed was a space where learning was stress-free and where they could simply“be” who they are in a completely non-competitive, nurturing and accepting environment. My idea was to come up with a program where certain self-care skills such as yoga, nutrition, cooking and hiking were taught along with expressive activities such as art, dance and music. There would be a general theme and a mix of activities each day, and the overall result would be one of enjoyment, relaxation and acquiring self-confidence through learning how to care for oneself while simultaneously discovering your unique strengths.

Also, with a supportive environment, it’s easy to foster new friendships where each girl can shine individually and yet still feel part of the community. I wanted to provide girls with a ‘safe cocoon’ to meet new friends outside the typical social cliques at school and more competitive activities. GirlPower! is about providing girls with the chance to be their unique selves and discover a path that resonates with them.

Holly Kania