Girls enjoy adventurous school break

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Feb. 27, 2014
Maria tries out rock climbing at Stone Age Rock Climbing Gym in Manchester. She and 14 others had an adventurous week as part of the Girls Adventure and Leadership Series. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

The Windsor Locks Youth Services Bureau is in its fifth year of offering local sixth- through eighth-grade girls a unique opportunity to use their school vacations to better themselves. The Girls Adventure and Leadership Series – GALS, for short - is a free, one-week program that gives 15 middle-schoolers the opportunity to snow-shoe, go rock-climbing, build leadership skills and learn about working together.

This past February break, the program was focused on the sixth- and seventh-graders.

“The program empowers girls through activities, team-building and adventure,” said YSB Director Sarah Maffiolini.  The program is free and offered via funds from the Capital Area Substance Abuse Council.

“I utilize a curriculum called 'Girls Circle,' an evidence-based program designed to increase positive connections between the group of girls,” said Maffiolini. “This curriculum is used in conjunction with field trips and team-building initiatives.”

Maffiolini explained that “field trips are chosen based on exposing participants to new things, making sure they are adventurous-based activities and are all completely challenge by choice,” meaning that participants challenge themselves and participate fully in the experience at hand.

“The girls also participated in an inter-generational project at the senior center,” added Maffiolini. The girls had the opportunity to interview a local senior about their lives and share a snack and a game of Wii bowling. “When I asked the girls on Friday what their favorite thing about this week was, 70 percent of them said it was going to the senior center and learning about how life was once like,” she said.

Additionally, the girls will continue to meet once a week after school for the remainder of the school year, so they will continue to build their relationships and positive memories.

“They all go to school together but didn't know each other well as friends. They bonded so well this week I was very proud of their teamwork, respect, loyalty and support for one another,” said Maffiolini. “They were polite, energetic, open-minded and thoughtful of each others’ feelings, skills, diversity and differences.”

Another similar program will be offered during April vacation for eighth-grade girls. If you have an eighth-grader who may be interested in the program, call 860-627-1482.

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