I was bullied as an eighth grader. I was quickly shifted out of my friend group and it felt as if my world was crumbling around me. I was afraid to go to school, dreading every passing period, lunchtime, and any class I had with any of the girls. I had to recreate a friend group and going through that process only made me realize that I had done this very same thing to a friend in sixth grade. I was "allowed" back in to my old friend group months later and only then I realized I was a part of the "mean girl cycle," as I call it. About a year later I read a journal I had kept during that time. I read entries saying how alone I felt, that no one knew what I was going through; I read entries that said when I was "older" I had to do something to stop this from happening to another girl. That moment is exactly where the idea of the Girl's Group at Brentwood started.
After months of preparation and organizing this group, we had our first meeting. In the meeting, just for my own peace of mind, I asked a question on behalf of my eight grade self: "How many of you have ever been a victim of mean girls?" Every single girl raised her hand. I then asked, "How many of you have been a mean girl?" Again, every single girl in the room raised her hand. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to change this cycle, one girl at a time. I knew we had to empower the girls to get them to feel good enough not to pick on others. The year's proceedings have included debates, speakers, heart-wrenching discussions, and lessons. It's been an unbelievable experience, watching this group -- and the girls themselves -- grow.
It evolved somewhat naturally that we wanted to host a conference. One topic that has continuously come up over the past two years in the Girl's Group was the Women's Conference that most of us had been to. We loved it so much that we wanted to create a conference of our own. We want to send our message of empowerment beyond the walls of our own classrooms. We want to inspire other schools to have girl's groups and to educate not just girls but also boys on how to treat each other and "break the chain" of bullying and mistreatment.
"It's Our Turn" was chosen to be the conference theme because it's just that simple. In our eyes, it's our turn to have a chance to change things, to spread our message, to break the chain. It's no longer just our mother's job to pave the way. It's Our Turn to take the drivers seat of our own lives and to change the lives of others. It's Our Turn.
Please encourage your sisters, daughters (and sons), and friends to go online, buy tickets, and SPREAD THE WORD! Information about the Conference is at www.bwscampus.com. Follow us on Twitter (@bws_itsourturn) and go to bwscampus.com/ywc to register.