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Girls RAP Graduates Continue Education at Leadership Retreat

By La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin, YWCA Girls RAP Lead Counselor
October 20, 2017
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Each year YWCA’s Girls Resolution and Prevention (RAP) Program with Girls Inc. has a leadership retreat for girls who have graduated from the program. The Girls Inc. RAP Program helps girls stay out of the juvenile justice system by building skills and motivation for positive life choices.

The leadership retreat engages graduates in activities that help them:

  • Strengthen their leadership skills
  • Build positive connections with their peers
  • Increase self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Demonstrate better self-awareness
  • And most of all, have fun!

This year’s retreat had 23 girls in attendance. The workshop structure had four individual tracks: Education, Health and Wellness, Arts and Creativity and Life Skills along with a mini spa and lunch.

Poetic Justice

Conducted by Jessica Wilson, an English teacher at Champlain Park High School, the Education Workshop titled “Poetic Justice” focused on women poets of color, such as Audre Lorde and Alice Walker, who use their art for social change.

Yoga and African Dance

Health and Wellness provided the opportunity for girls to participate in either Yoga or African dance. The girls learned how to use relaxation and physical activity to maintain a healthy mind and body.

Lunch and Mini Spa

The girls were also treated to a delicious lunch and a mini spa. The group connected with each other while receiving spa services such as henna tattoos, manicures, massage and making their own natural facial scrub.

Etiquettes of an Effective Leader

After lunch, the girls ventured into Arts and Creativity with local artist Tanika Graves who taught them how to make wood carved jewelry pieces. The last and final track was Life Skills. Juliette Mitchell, from The Etiquettes Experts, conducted a workshop titled “Etiquettes of an Effective Leader”. The girls learned about first impressions, self-presentation and created elevator speeches. The retreat ended with a discussion to process the day. After the entire day together, the girls were both tired and grateful for the retreat.

Backpacks and School Supplies Donated

For the third consecutive year, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis received a generous donation to purchase 50 backpacks and schools supplies for participants in the Eureka and Girls RAP programs. Handed out at the end of the Leadership Retreat, Girls RAP participants were extremely excited to receive their backpacks and supplies.

Before staff could mention waiting to get home, several of the girls emptied their backpacks to see what was inside. A participant shared with the room in excitement “Man, they got my whole school supply list!” They showed their appreciation with an outpour of gratitude. Two sisters who attend programming, expressed that they could not wait to get home so they could show their mom what they had received. They shared with staff that she would no longer have to worry about how she would afford their supplies.

Before leaving the retreat, one of the girls stated, “I really feel important. You (YWCA program staff) always make us feel special. This was one of the best days ever!”