Tween Girls Rule the World!
D.C. Summit teaches girls to speak up and take action
Tween girls want to change the world, and to do this they will speak up, take action, and learn how to make a difference. More than 400 girls ages 9-14 met in Washington, D.C. this past weekend to start that learning process.
"Love it, dream it, live it," said two-time Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza, who was keynote speaker at the Tween Girl Summit. "Do what you are passionate about, and don’t let anybody hold you back."
The summit set up workshops for girls to meet and talk about their concerns and how to empower themselves. They also learned about the courageous careers of distinguished women through speakers who discussed their own career goals and challenges.
The speakers included athletes, video game makers, soldiers, executives, and columnists. They talked about their greatest achievements and their worst failures.
After the lively sessions, everyone gathered in an exhibit hall where sponsors showcased products and girls made written and videotaped pledges to make a difference.
As the day came to a very noisy end, the girls were rewarded by a sensational concert hosted by actor and singer Debby Ryan. The 16-year-old Ryan is best known for playing Bailey Pickett on the Disney show Suite Life on Deck.
Girls Talk, Adults Should Listen!
One of the many workshops offered girls a chance to speak up. A six-person panel made comments, listened to the audience, and answered questions.
"It's never too early to find your own path," said panelist Alyse Nelson after a member of the audience suggested that girls are usually ignored by adults.
"I think that's SO true!” said a teen attendee after being asked what she thought about the comment.
As keynote speaker, Mendoza encouraged girls to be confident.
"The thing with success is that you have to stand out and be unique," she said. She told this reporter that she encourages girls to be athletic.
"Whether it's running around with your friends or doing yoga, whatever it is, number one, it makes you healthy," she said. "And number two, it makes you feel better about yourself."
Mendoza won a gold medal as part of the U.S. Women's Softball team at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. She won a silver medal in the same category at the 2004 Games. "My feeling for being an Olympic medalist was not because of my pride, but also because the hard work I put into it and for the love for my country," she told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.
In a session titled "Changing the World," participants wrote down what they wanted to change and then posted their thoughts on the "White House Wall" in the exhibit hall.
Girls also made pledges about what they want to change in the world. Once determined, the girls videotaped their pledges.
"I pledge to save the environment because nobody would want to live in such a polluted world with global warming happening," one girl pledged.
"I pledge to end the war because I want to make world peace," said another.
The pledges and wall posts will be sent to the White House for President Barack Obama to see.
At the end of the day, everyone's hard work was rewarded with an awesome concert where everybody was dancing. Girls were thrilled by the performances of Jacob Latimore, WOW, Brooke White, and others.
"This was the best day ever!" said Katie, age 9, of northern Virginia as she was happily dancing to Jacob Latimore's impersonation of Michael Jackson.
Hostess Jess Weiner declared the Tween Girl Summit a huge success.
"There is no wrong today, there is no right today, there is no OOPs-I-forgot today, and so it is perfectly an imperfect day today!" she said.
You can find out more about the summit at the Tween Girl Web site.