G Day takes place on Friday October 20th, 2017 at the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, BC. The day-long event – the fourth to take place in Vancouver – is expected to draw up to 150 girls aged 10-12 and 100 adult Champions in an intergenerational community celebration of girls as they are, celebrating and empowering girls as they transition from childhood into adolescence.
Speakers include trans rights activists Michelle and Tru Wilson, YWCA Metro Vancouver Culture Shift project lead Lori Boland, CEO & Co-Founder of Webnames.ca Cybele Negris, musician and CBC Searchlight Competition winner Desiree Dawson, and The Fat Yogini Lisa Papez. See the full list of presenters here.
G Day began in the spring of 2014 with over 500 girls and their champions attending both 2014 events in Vancouver. In 2015, G Day was met again with incredible community support and attendance in Vancouver. G Day Toronto launched in April 2015, and G Day Victoria took place in September 2015 and 2016. This year’s event is produced by the charity United Girls of the World Society.
Tickets $50 (plus service charge) for girls and adult champions
Social media accounts:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube @gdayforgirls
In honour of the event, and in true Peaks and Harbours style, we asked some of the incredibly accomplished women the following 2 questions:
1: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give 11 year-old you if you could?
2: What character trait did you have at 11 that you are glad you nurtured, and how does it help you now in your life as a grown-up?
Below are their answers (and bios follow), get the tissues handy 😉
1: To trust yourself more, and pay attention to what you’re curious about. You already have a pretty clear idea of who you are: what you like and don’t like, what you’re drawn to and where your strengths lie. Hold onto these precious insights, and don’t get confused by messages that tell you that what really matters about you is how pretty, popular or “hot” you are. I suggest going back to your Winnie the Pooh book and find this quote:
“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
2: Non-conformity and mistrust for authority. I was asked to leave my Brownie troop, and subsequently the girls middle school I attended, on the charge of “inciting rebellion in my peers”. These tendencies showed up later in life as feminist politics, leadership and entrepreneurship.
1: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. The real you is who people will love.
2: Kindness. After being bullied relentlessly in grade 5 and 6 I promised myself I would never make someone feel as horrible as I did. As an adult, this helps me bring people together and feel valued.
1: I would tell my 11 year old self that life is a series of lessons to be learned (even when you’re an adult!) and the best way to learn is from our mistakes. It’s important to do and try the things we are excited and passionate about, even though failures will happen. It’s not the failures that matter, it’s that you were brave enough to try that counts!
2: My saving grace during the trials and tribulations of childhood and adolescence was my drive and passion for dance. I worked hard and long as a competitive dancer and the pride I felt at my accomplishments and the emotional outlet of dance buoyed me through challenges I experienced at school.
1: Know yourself, love yourself, don’t be afraid to be unique, you have immense strength and power and that is a good thing!
I know now that wanting to fit in and be one of the crew is a totally normal and developmentally appropriate characteristic of an 11 year old – but as an adult I would love to let my younger self know that being unique is a good thing. Being an individual, having an opinion, liking different things or looking different than my peer group is ok! In fact, it’s a great thing! I tell my 11 year-old daughter that everyday!
2: I was (and still am) a very strong willed and social-justice oriented person. As an 11 year old, this strength and draw towards fairness didn’t always land in the best way in social settings and peer relationships. I went through a few years of wishing I could soften myself in some way. But as I traverse in my career, having to speak publicly about difficult topics, I see that this strength guides me, supports me and motivates me to keep speaking up. I understand now that these qualities of strength and fairness fuel my passion to shift culture to one that is more equitable and safe for all people.
Madeleine Shaw, Creative Director
Madeleine holds the G Day vision, guides and creates content and nourishes key relationships, including the G Day Team, Advisors, Sponsors and Community Leaders. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the THNK School of Creative Leadership. As the parent of an adolescent daughter, she feels incredibly privileged to have the chance for her experience and inspiration as a parent to be shared through G Day.
Young enough to relate to children and teens, but experienced enough to understand the issues faced by parents, educators, health care professionals, Saleema Noon earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Family Sciences at UBC. She then researched the quality of sexual health education in B.C. high schools, earning her a Master of Arts degree in sexual health education in 1997, also from UBC. Since then, Saleema has been teaching not only in the field of sexual health, but also in the areas of empowerment, assertiveness training, internet safety, healthy relationships, body image and self-esteem. Step-mom to two teenaged girls, she is the creator of the popular iGirl and iGuy Empowerment Workshops for 9-12 year olds.
Respected by the media as a sexual health expert, Saleema has appeared as a regular guest on CTV News, Global News, CBC News, CBC Radio, CKNW Radio, Shaw TV, CityTV Breakfast Television, CTV Morning Live, The Kid Carson Show on KiSS Radio, and also appeared in CBC’s Passionate Eye documentary Secrets and CBC Doc Zone documentary Sext Up Kids. Saleema has been featured in Canadian Living, Chatelaine and Today’s Parent magazines along with several other national publications, and is the recipient of the Options For Sexual Health’s Educator of the Year Award. In 2011, Saleema also received the YWCA Vancouver’s Women of Distinction Connecting the Community Award and is a member of the Order of British Columbia. Her book for parents, Talk Sex Today, was released in September 2016.
At an early age, dance fostered Thea Gow-Jarrett’s confidence and freedom of expression. But as a young teenager immersed in the world of competitive dance she felt herself slipping into comparison and her self worth began to dwindle. At 16, Thea left competitions behind and began to pursue dance on her own terms.
A trained elementary teacher, yoga instructor, leadership facilitator, and mother to a girl of her own, Thea is passionate about creating opportunities for girls to find freedom, connection, and full self-expression through shared experiences of dance and movement. She’s honoured to be a part of G Day.
Lori is an educator, counselor, and social worker who has worked with kids and families for over 20 years. About 8 years ago, she realized that the changing digital landscape was affecting kids social and emotional well-being in profound ways. This led her to complete an MSW degree, with her research looking at how to support kids growing up in a sexualized media world. Currently Lori is the project lead on Culture Shift at the YWCA Metro Vancouver, an initiative that aims to shift environments that contribute to the sexualization of girls.