THE BLOG

The 9-Day Self Challenge

10/18/2011 09:46 am ET | Updated Dec 18, 2011

This summer I attended the Eleanor Roosevelt Girls Leadership Workshop in Hyde Park, New York. This amazing nine-day program is an experience I will never forget. The first day I arrived I was greeted by friendly faces welcoming me and saying how nice it was to meet me. I was walked to my room and given all the supplies I needed to change the world. I walked inside my tiny, hot room, timid with my mom, as if back in kindergarten. I then walked into the common room and saw several girls talking. Little did I know these girls would become some of my closest friends. I meet my group leader. Emily, who saw how shy and scared I was and introduced me to some of the girls. The first girl to welcome me was Sydney. She's bubbly, hilarious and a great friend you can always count on. I then continued to meet more girls: Miranda, Sumaia, Caroline, KaLynn, Alix, Daisy, Laura, Lauren, Ariella, Karen, Allison, Ivana, Stephanie, Janessa, Jessie, Michaela, Tiara, Martha, Kyla, Charisse, Emily, Allison, Khala, Pryia, Emilie, Marissa, Besty, and Franzi. We then moved on to a luncheon where we all had lunch with family or each other if someone was from out of state or country. We then waved good-bye to family for nine days. We took off to a town I know called Rhinebeck. We then went to the Ramapo Camp for Kids, where we met Jay and played games. We then went back to our rooms and we had a group meeting where Sara, the amazing GLW program director, told us the ground rules and what we would be doing. We talked about Eleanor and learned about her and also learned a lot about ourselves. Sara led a workshop where we all shed tears and learned that it's OK to be different and "outside the box." This was the moment I knew that I had made amazing new friends.

A few days later we went to New York City. We had the opportunity to meet and have dinner with amazing women leaders. We also got to shadow women in their careers. I went to CNN and got to see how everything is set up and how everything works behind the scenes. A few more days layer we had a celebrity guest come in. Eager as ever, we tried to guess who this mysterious person could be. It was Kelly Cutrone! She shared words of wisdom with us, while making us laugh to tears. She truly inspired me! It was now the day before the last and we all stood in two lines across from each other. Sara then said to the person in front of her everything about them that makes them unique. We then again hugged and shared tears with one another. The next day we all woke up happy to be leaving, but sad to be leaving our newfound friends. We met our family at the Val-Kill center and had breakfast. We then all shared a piece that we wrote about how we have changed. What amazed me is when we were writing these pieces, we didn't even realize the change until we read them to each other and learned we all now had more self-confidence, more desire to change the world, and more passion for what we believe in. As all of the girls departed with hugs and tears, we said goodbye to something amazing. The GLW experience cannot be summed up in words. It is something you need to experience. GLW will always be a huge part of my life that truly changed me for the better.

If you are interested in the Girls Leadership Workshop, visit their website. You can get information on the program and find out about how to apply.