Discovering Empathy and Becoming Service Minded
Week three of the StandUp Foundation retreat started out like any other. Girls shuffled in on Monday tired and anxious, but ready to see what was in store for the day. As we started to introduce ourselves the girls started to brighten already knowing they would have fun. We started the day with treasure hunting called Geocaching. The girls had to hike through trails and bushes but finally found what they were looking for. Later in the day we learned about insects and even got to catch and look at some of our own under a microscope! The theme of the week was empathy and we learned that we could even be empathetic to insects and animals around us.
On Tuesday, the girls went to Absolute Music Studio and learned how to show empathy through music without using words. They were each given an emotion and had to show their emotion through playing an instrument. After, we all went paddle boarding and played King of the Paddle and saw starfish. We even did paddleboard yoga! On Wednesday, we talked about putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and made stepping stones with plaster and decorated them with shells. Later we learned about poisonous snakes in Florida and what to do if we see one. They even let us pet 2 of their nonpoisonous snakes, Red and JD! After that we talked about kindness and thanking others and the girls decided they wanted to write a song for Chris, the owner of Absolute Music Studio. On Thursday we headed back to Absolute Music Studio and sang the song we created for Chris as a thank you for all he had taught us this week. On Friday, we talked about kindness and how it affects others. We started the day by decorating rocks to give to people that we appreciated like those working at Johnathan Dickenson State Park and Blueline. In the middle of the day, we had races on the slip n slide and the leaders even surprised the girls with ice cream as a treat for being such great girls. After, they learned about emotions and empathy and how they may not have been in the same situation before they probably have felt the same emotion and therefore can be empathetic. At the end of the day the girls acted out situations in which they showed empathy and sympathy and explained the difference.
This week’s theme couldn’t have been more appropriate; the girls were actively practicing empathy and embracing diversity by being a part of the Stand Up Foundation. Our organization promotes acceptance and inclusion by providing a judgment free zone. Within our safe space, I show the most authentic version of myself, bearing my strengths along with my weaknesses. This organization has celebrated me for my abilities and encouraged me at every turn. I’m valued as an important component to our interconnected web of talent and conviction. Within our diverse group of girls, I learned that my weaknesses are another’s strength. While alone I may have only made a ripple, together we can make waves.
~Brianne, 16, WMW Member and Captain