The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 28, 2013

Bringing issue awareness: YWCA Enid hosts 11th annual Girl Power Rally

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Nearly 100 girls gathered Saturday at Autry Technology Center for the 11th annual Girl Power Rally.

This year’s participants attended workshops on nutrition, finances, etiquette, time management, dance and skin care. The young women also heard from special guest speaker Jeff Weber, former domestic violence investigator for the Enid Police Department.

This year’s event, hosted by YWCA Enid, had 90 fourth- through seventh-graders participating.

YWCA’s Lindsey Elston said the event is planned months in advance.

“We have a committee that does all the planning,” she said. “We figure out what workshops will interest the girls.”

Elston said everything for the rally was donated by the community. This year’s sponsors include Autry Technology Center, Walmart, Kiwanis Club, Stalcup Dance, United Supermarkets, Integris Bass Baptist Health Center, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, Sonic, Junior Welfare League, Downtown Threads and Cherry Berry.

Elston said the purpose of the rally was to bring awareness to issues the young girls will face throughout their lives.

“We try to find something that is interactive for the girls,” she said. “Our instructors make it interactive and informative for them.”

The girls attending the rally were split into two groups, fourth- and fifth-graders and sixth- and seventh-graders. Each group attends three of the sessions.

“We always have a good group that comes back year after year,” Elston said. “We have 17 door prizes this year. We put the girls’ names in and draw.”

This year’s prizes included board games, gift cards, gift baskets and movies.

Elston said she wants each of the girls to take something away from each part of the rally.

“I would like them to take something from each workshop they are in,” she said. “I believe these workshops are an key essentials to their everyday lives.”

Elston said next year’s Girl Power Rally will return for its 12th incarnation.

“As long as they continue to come, we’ll continue to have Girl Power,” she said.

YWCA Executive Director Kim Blankenship said the event would not be possible without its sponsors.

“We appreciate our partnership with Autry Technology and local businesses that support our rally,” she said. “This is a great day to empower young girls by building confidence, self-esteem and by taking positive classes. The YWCA looks forward to it every year.”

Hype Dance Productions instructor Kyra Johnston was teaching the girls a dance of her own creation.

“They’ve been good. The first class went really good,” she said of the girls in her workshop. “I’m going to teach them a dance. It’s a small dance I made up.”

Johnston said dance was important for girls and young women, because it gives confidence to them to do other things. She also said it was good exercise.

Her advice for someone who may not feel they are good at dancing, “Don’t let anyone judge you. Just keep going.”

Sixth-grader Katie Wallace, from Drummond, said this was her second Girl Power Rally.

“It’s fun because you can meet new people,” the 12-year-old said. Her favorite workshop was Johnston’s dance class.

“I like dancing,” she said.