Girls Leadership Institute Summer Camp

Overview – GLI summer camp. This is the place where you can be real.  At GLI, you live in a dorm with roommates and spend your days in fun self-discovery workshops, playing wild theatre games, sharing stories in small groups, making films, playing sports, and enjoying evening activities like extreme scavenger hunt or mask making. Every three days, there’s a field trip to a high ropes course, lakeside, or arts event. Girls come away from GLI with the confidence to be themselves and build lasting friendships. GLI helps you gain skills to face the challenges life throws your way.

Want to learn more? Please check out our video, read the FAQs, look at the photos, and read what alumnae girls and parents have to say. Still have questions? Please call us at 866-744-9102 Ext 2. We will be happy to talk to you about GLI and put you in touch with an alumnae family.

GLI Summer 2013 will be at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA!

 for Summer 2013!

June 22, 2013 – July 12, 2013

Entering Grade 6: Session A (June 22, 2013 – July 2, 2013)
Entering Grade 6: Session B (July 2, 2013 – July 12, 2013)
Entering Grade 7
Entering Grade 8

July 15, 2013 – August 4, 2013

Entering Grade 9
Entering Grade 10, 11 or 12 — First time at GLI
Leadership for Life — For GLI alumni entering grades 10 – 12

Adolescent Girls Report Dance Has Positive Influence

By Gina Cairney on January 25, 2013 

Parents looking for worthwhile activities for their children may want to consider dance classes, especially for daughters who don’t seem interested in sports that come off as “too physical,” or may be experiencing low self-esteem or lack confidence.

Researchers found that dance intervention had a positive influence on self-rated health for adolescent girls in Sweden, which lasted up to a year after the program ended.

Some 140 girls, ages 13 to 18 years, participated in the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics. The girls selected for the study had visited the school nurse with complaints often associated with stress or low self-esteem, symptoms not serious enough to warrant a mental health referral. About half of the girls were randomly assigned to the intervention group, where they were given dance classes twice a week for 8 months. Each class lasted 75 minutes with an emphasis on the joy of movement, rather than performance, the study says, with various themes like African dance and jazz.

By the end of the program, 48 girls remained and were surveyed on their experience, with 43 of the girls rating it as a positive experience, three girls rating it neutral, and only one girl who found it to be a negative experience.

Adolescence is the time of life where everything seems awkward, and all that can go wrong, seems to go wrong. This and other stressors have an effect on how young people perceive themselves, and according to Statistics Sweden, girls are three times more likely than boysto rate themselves to have poor health.

This study’s suggestion to use dance as a preventative health measure is also supported by another study which looked at the prevalence of dance participation in the United States, and its contribution to total moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise in adolescents.

The Swedish study does acknowledge some limitations to its research however, noting that evaluating self-rated health is very subjective and the participants may have reported higher values to please their instructors.

Regardless, the potential influence dance has on young girls who are experiencing emotional problems appears to be significant. It’s also important to consider the factors that make dance an appealing physical activity to girls.

Based on survey responses, the study found three possible key factors explaining why the girls reported feeling better:

• The dance intervention was enjoyable and undemanding,
• There were opportunities for girls to offer input in music selection and dance choreography, and
• The opportunity allowed them to make new friends who had similar interests, which may be the most critical factor in maintaining interest in the program or activity.

While all physical activity of some kind is important for the overall well-being of a child, dance programs may be the ideal ticket for some parents who have children—daughters and sons—who want to participate in a social activity without the overbearing competitive nature of sports like soccer and basketball.

Sacred Heart Greenwich Summer Enrichment Program

Our Summer Enrichment Program is offered to girls entering grades Preschool – Grade 12 in the fall. It provides students with engaging, hands-on learning experiences and offers a wide variety of options to choose from. Our goal is to stimulate curiosity and open young hearts and minds. Our learning sessions are all participatory and allow for creativity and collaborative work.

We offer programs in the following areas: music, dance, drama, athletics, arts & crafts, chess, vocabulary, creativity, yoga, fitness, Native American history, mosaics, clay, French language and culture, swimming, broadcast journalism, labyrinth design, computer programming, crochet, photography, journalism, field hockey, tennis, fun with DNA, canning and jam making, cooking, quilting, watercolors, robotics, soccer, basketball, astronomy, musical theater, lacrosse, volleyball, intro to the Middle School, creative writing, forensic DNA science, poverty – awareness and action, shadow a professional, non-fiction writing, service learning trip to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, online PSAT prep, online English.

‘Tiger Mom’ Study Says Both Amy Chua And Her Critics Have A Point

Tiger Mom

By: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Published: 01/22/2013 10:09 AM EST on LiveScience

NEW ORLEANS — In 2011, Yale Law professor Amy Chua caused a stir with a Wall Street Journal article titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” describing her strict methods of parenting. In the backlash to the article, critics accused Chua of hurting her daughters in her quest to make them succeed. For her part, Chua criticized the less strict, Western methods of parenting as being too lenient and setting kids up for failure.

Now, a new study suggests both Chua and her critics have a point. It’s not that Western parents or Eastern parents have all the answers, this research suggests, but that the culture of families matters a great deal in how kids will perceive their parents’ motivational style.

Parents in both cultures “want their children to succeed,” Alyssa Fu, a doctoral student in psychology at Stanford University, said here Friday (Jan. 18) at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

What’s more, Fu told LiveScience, children from both cultures generally have good relationships with their parents.

“The nature of the relationship is what, I think, is different,” she said.

Tiger vs. Western parenting

Chua’s take-no-prisoners approach to parenting involved long hours of supervised practice at the piano for her daughter and compliments not for effort, but for mastery. She described her style as “tiger parenting,” a method common in East Asian cultures.

Western-style parenting, on the other hand, focuses more on self-esteem and independence for the child. These disparate approaches reflect differences in the two cultures, Fu said. [10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

Asian-Americans come from cultures that emphasize closeness to others, she said, while European-Americans see the ideal person as someone who stands on their own without assistance. She and her colleagues wanted to know if these two different outlooks would change how kids reacted to tiger-style mothering.

“We wanted to see, okay, how are people even thinking about their mothers to begin with?” she said.

The researchers asked 83 high-school students to describe their mothers in a couple of sentences. They found that Asian-American high schoolers were more likely to talk about their mothers’ relationships to themselves than were European-Americans. Asian- Americans tended to mention things such as how their moms helped them with homework or pushed them to succeed, for example.

The European-Americans, on the other hand, were more likely to talk about their mothers as individuals — describing mom’s looks or hobbies, for example. The schism suggests that Asian-Americans and European-Americans really do see moms differently, Fu said.

“For Asian-Americans, they are seeing themselves as connected in some way to their mothers,” she said. “Not even just connected, but their mother is part of who they are.”

Pressure and support

Next, the researchers asked 61 high-school students to rate how much pressure and support they felt from their moms. They also queried the students about their interdependence with their mothers, or how closely they felt they and their mothers depended on one another.

For European-Americans, such pressure was seen as negative. Kids who felt pressured by mom said she was less supportive and they felt less interdependent with her. But the same was not true for Asian-Americans. For these kids, pressure and support weren’t related; mom could be high-pressure and still be seen as supportive as a low-key mother. The same was true of interdependence and pressure for Asian-American teens. [10 Surprising Facts About the Teen Brain]

“Asian-Americans feel supported by their mothers just as much as the European-Americans do, even though they are experiencing more pressure from their mothers,” Fu said. Both groups of teens also rated their relationships with their mothers as good, a heartening finding given concerns that “tiger moms” might be harming their relationships with their kids, Fu said.

Other research, though, has found higher rates of depression and anxiety in high-achieving Asian-American kids in competitive high schools compared with European-American ones, linking those mental health problems to family conflict.

Finally, the researchers took a look at the link betweens moms and motivations. They gave 117 high-school students a difficult set of word puzzles and then asked the students to write a short essay either about their mothers or about themselves. Next, they had the students tackle yet more difficult word puzzles and counted how many they attempted before giving up.

The two groups were equally motivated after thinking about themselves, but Asian-American students completed more word puzzles than European-American students after thinking about their mothers. In other words, for Asian-Americans, mom seems to be an extra resource for motivation. For independence-focused European-Americans, feeling like mom is too involved may impair motivation, Fu said.

Both high-intensity tiger moms and low-key Western moms may have the right idea, depending on what their cultures expect from parenting.

“The European parents, they provide their children wings so their child can fly away and be free on their own,” Fu said. “The Asian-American parents are more like the wind that is beneath the wings of their child, because they’re always there, supporting the child, letting the child fly and reach success.”

Snapchat: Good for Teenagers?

By Adam McLane

Snapchat: Good for teenagers?

A lot of youth workers have been asking me about Snapchat, a mobile picture sharing service that is popular amongst some segments of teenagers.

I know there are some innocent uses out there. I’ve even heard from youth ministry folks who use it to connect with their students and crowd-source ideas. But I also know of some horror stories. Stories of regret and exposure to things their eyes didn’t want to see.


Rather than respond to specific things I like or dislike about the service I think it’s better to respond with a few principles I’ve taught teenagers, parents, and youth workers for years.

  1. Everyone isn’t who you think they are online. Just ask Manti Te’o. Unless you are 100% confident that you know every single one of your Snapchat friends and they know every one of their Snapchat friends, you don’t really know who is seeing the pictures you are sending nor can you predict what you are likely to be sent.
  2. Anonymity, or perceived anonymity, never benefits teenagers. There have been hundreds of studies done about how far humans will go to punish, humiliate, and harm fellow human beings when they perceive they are inflicting harm anonymously. The most famous of which is the Milgram experiment. I’ve seen it time and again: Anonymity among teenagers leads to cyberbullying, pure and simple. When I first looked into Snapchat I thought it was another experiment, like Chatroulette was. And in fact, I’m still not sure if it’s real or if it’s another Stanford experiment… It’s just too obviously set up to gain the trust of teenagers while attracting men looking for porn to be real. It’s not hard for a grown man to pose as a 15 year old female on Snapchat. And if it isn’t hard, you know that’s what’s going on.
  3. There is no such thing as anonymity anywhere online. When I listen to teenagers talk about this service they seem to like the innocence and cuteness of it. It all just kind of goes away. Awesome. Unfortunately, everywhere your device goes online has the ability to be tracked back to you. (Relatively easily) A service can say something is anonymous and they can have intentions of keeping that private. But if a law is broken, say you see a nude picture of an underage friend, all of your usage data is able to be seen by the courts for your prosecution. Ask Kwame Kilpatrick about that. While Snapchat tries to convince users otherwise the proof is right in their privacy policy… they store everything for their own purposes and will give it out however they need to. The privacy policy details how they store your UDID, (device ID) email, phone number, MAC address, (network identifier) and all your usage data… which images you looked at, how long you saw them, if you touched the screen while you looked at it, etc.
  4. Nothing you post online goes away. Ever. Forget the marketing copy, it’s a lie. That’s just not how the internet works. A service can say it isn’t storing images but it is stored, indexed, and potentially sold. Again, the Snapchat privacy policy makes it abundantly clear that they are storing everything and will use it however it best benefits their investors within the law. Think of it like this… if I could convince you to post lots of photos of yourself which I could then use for any purpose I wanted whenever I wanted… why would I ever delete that? I wouldn’t. I’d store it and potentially use it later. And when you’re 25 and you apply for a job that does a background check, guess who is going to be seeing your embarrassing 10 year old photos? Yup, thems the breaks kid. COPPA only protects you until you’re 13. After that you can identify your flirty Snapchat self with the non-flirty MBA self trying to get a government job. Additionally, they are legally obligated to store every-single-image because if a law is broken and they’ve deleted evidence they may be criminally responsible. So they can say they are deleting stuff all they want, but they are storing it all.
  5. Things aren’t always as innocent as they appear online. Snapchat is a service targeted at 13-17 year old females. All of their promotional materials are out of casting central for a Disney Channel-esque television show. Who do you think are the vast majority of users? I’m going to guess men. Snapchat is like bait for a To Catch a Predator episode. When it was first described to me I wondered if Chris Hanson occasionally popped up and said, “Hello there Joe. I’m Chris Hanson from Dateline NBC. Can I ask you what you’re doing here?

I’ve been soft on responding about Snapchat because there hasn’t been a lot of data to back up my assumptions about the site. But I do want to point out that based on all the experience I have in working with digitally connected teenagers, all of the principles that I teach should navigate any and all students away from using this app.

Are there innocent uses? Certainly. Am I being alarmist? That’s not my style. I just don’t see the positive outweighing the negative.

All Snapchat appears to be is a teenage version of Chatroullette. It might be used innocently. But it’ll also lull you into to taking bigger and bigger risks until its too late. There’s just no upside to it. Cute and fun? I am not buying it.

What’s an alternative and why? Instead of Snapchat I’d recommend Instagram, a photo-sharing service with a more open sharing community and a proven abuse desk via Facebook.

My encouragement to students, parents, and youth workers is to help teenagers find a better platform for connecting than Snapchat. Too many unknowns and built too easily for exploitation.

Inspiring Young Writers Through Blogging

Blog All About It

From “Mom’s Homeroom

Blog All About It -- Mom's Homeroom -- © OJO Images/SuperStock

By Valle Dwight

Writers are not born, but made. And how do you make a good writer? Practice, practice, practice. Good luck getting your middle schooler to sit down and write during the summer, right? But it is possible, especially if she has an appreciative audience and is focusing on stuff that interests her — in other words, if it’s as un-school-like as possible! A blog is a great way to bring out your child’s inner Virginia Woolf and will allow her to sound off on her dreams, gripes, hobbies or passions.

The project: Creating a kid-friendly blog

Get ready: Figure out a focus

– Help your child brainstorm a topic for the blog. Is she into movies? Suggest that she write reviews, make top-10 lists, or research classic films.

– A video game blog will connect her with other fans — she can write about what makes a great game and share tips.

– Have her be the family chronicler. A regular journal about your family’s summer, including photos, will be treasured for years to come.

– Kids who are passionate about sports have a wealth of fodder for blogs. Follow one team or a whole league.

Make it happen: Jump into the blogosphere

Help your child pick a platform — and establish safety guidelines:

– Do some research to find the best platform for your child’s blog. Compare various blogging platforms. Several, including Blogger and WordPress, are free.

– Check the privacy options, and set them according to what makes you most comfortable. Also establish some online safety rules, like not publishing her full name, address or other information that might identify her.

– Once she’s started writing, have her send out the word to friends and family so that they can follow her exploits — nothing spurs on a writer more than encouraging words from readers!

Bust that block

If your child is stumped for a topic on a particular day, here are a few suggestions to get those creative juices flowing:

– Have her post a photo and describe it.

– Have her write about her “ideal day” or “dream collection.”

– Give her a starter sentence to work with. “The most embarrassing thing I ever did was …” or “If I could design the perfect video game, it would have ….” Use a topic that relates to the blog and interests your child.

– Have her research some historic aspect of her blog topic and write about the process and her findings.

A final tip: Try to get a commitment from your child to post at least three times a week. If she starts getting responses to her writing, chances are she’ll update more often.

Valle Dwight is a reporter, writer and mother of two school-aged boys. She has written for many magazines, including FamilyFun, Wondertime and Working Mother.

To Hover or Hope – Tough Calls in a World of Risk

Are we raising “soft kids”?

Published on January 14, 2013 by Peggy Drexler, Ph.D. in Our Gender, Ourselves

By today’s standards, social services should have taken most us baby boomers away from our parents.

We were raised in a world of lawn darts, BB guns and second-hand smoke; without car seats, airbags or bicycle helmets. We gobbled sugar, swilled fats and consumed mushy white bread with the nutrients pounded out in processing.  We roamed our world freely, gone for hours, told only to be home when the streetlights come on. As a friend said: “I’m pretty sure my parents were trying to kill me.”

Yet: here we are. Aside from a few mended bones and some fading scars from stitches, most of us are little the worse for wear from growing up in a world before dodge ball became organized bullying.

Helmets, car seats and smoke-free homes are the logical outcomes of a smarter society. But for parents today: has common-sense protection crossed a divide to irrational obsession with driving risk from young lives?

That question, of course, must be asked in the chilling context of a very different world.  In the most normal of places on the most normal of days, 20 children went happily off to school in Newtown, Connecticut. They did not come home.

Threats are real. Fears are justified. And the instinct to protect our children is one of the crossbeams in our human architecture. But are those realities combining  to cause us to raise kids so emotionally and physically bubble-wrapped that they are paying a cost in confidence and, ironically, the well-being that we are working so hard to create? Have we lost our sense of the difference between risk’s reality and its mere possibility?

They are questions without easy answers.

A recent study from Norway concluded that playgrounds have become so low, slow and bouncy that kids have lost interest – to the point that there is a causal connection to childhood obesity. Is a slide still a slide if you don’t go flying off the end?

It’s yet another easy addition to the catalog of evidence that “we’re raising soft kids.”

It becomes less easy when you also consider CDC reports that, every year, 200,000 kids under age 14 suffer playground injuries serious enough to send them to the emergency room. A third of them are severe – fractures, concussions, internal injuries and dislocations. Approximately 15 of these injured children die.

How many of those casualties are worth a trade-off in a more formative playground experience?

Reaction to risk plays out everywhere parents gather with children to play. When a child falls, some will race to them like a lifeguard to a drowning swimmer. Others will watch, allowing the drama to play out, allowing the child to find his or her own resolution.

I’ve seen that choice – especially in emotional risk — from an interesting perspective in my work with single and two-mother families; where mothers know that their children start the day outside the norm.

As one lesbian mother told me: “At first, I would charge in to school to do battle every time there was a hint that my child was being taunted or bullied because of the makeup of our family. But I realized, I can’t be doing this when he’s 20 years old. So I started to think more about how to help him deal with it himself. I tried to give him the confidence and perspective to make the decision about when to walk away, when to laugh, and when to push back. He’s very funny, so that was his way in. The fact that he had two mothers became a non-issue. It would have taken a lot longer for kids to get him if they always had to get past me.”

So what’s a parent to do: try to banish risk, or learn to accept it?  Most of us in the mental health field suggest a mix of both. The question is whether a given situation carries a high risk of physical or emotional harm; or whether it is a bump – figuratively or literally – that is part of the invaluable life lessons that come from the  pain of hitting the ground hard, and the thrill of getting back up.

Like anything else in the complex and situational world of protecting the most precious thing the universe has ever created, distinguishing between the two may take a little practice.

Peggy Drexler, Ph.D. is a research psychologist, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University and author of two books about modern families and the children they produce. Follow Peggy on Twitter and Facebook and learn more about Peggy