Women and girls from the area will gather next month for the fourth annual Mother/Daughter conference that is presented by Soroptimist International, Central Alberta region.
The ‘Power of a Girl’ conferences are held to provide insight for young girls ages 10-13, 14-16 and the accompanying women in their lives. The theme of this year’s event is ‘To have a friend, you must be a friend’.
“Usually what we try to do is pick a topic or theme that would appeal to the girls. Our speakers are going to do some life-skills types of presentations. They will talk about peer drama, self-harm, peer pressure and different things like that that are affecting the youth of today,” said event organizer Bonnie Vestrum.
“The presentations are augmented a little bit with the older group – I guess you could say we are a little more candid with them. The older girls will get presentations around suicide, bullying, drugs, sexual harassment and depression. These are issues that are facing girls 14 to 16, and hopefully are not issues for the 10- to 13-year-olds.”
The conference spans two days and will take place in the Red Deer Regional Hospital Dana Soltes auditorium. Tickets are $20 for guests above 18, youth attendees have no admission costs.
The conference begins on Feb. 7th for girls ages 10 to 13, with the second day for girls ages 14 to 16. Both days begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 4 p.m.
“We’re not going to have as many speakers this year as we have in the past. Dare to Care will be taking up the afternoons of both event days. For the younger girls, we will have Kalisha Mendonsa coming to speak with them about bullying and how to learn from that, and we are hoping for a nurse from Alberta Health Services to come talk to the girls about body concerns,” Vestrum said.
“For the girls aged 14 to 16, we have Melanie Bolus, who was at one point incarcerated and heavily into drugs. She has turned herself around and will talk to the girls about her experience. We will also have a suicide awareness presentation that day.”
Each day of the conference is broken into different sections. On both days there will be a fitness dance break, a prepared lunch, photo opportunities and a scrapbooking session at the end of the first day for the younger girls.
All of the attendees will receive professional photos to take home from the event, and will have chances to win door prizes at the event such as jewellery.
“The Dare to Care speaker for the 14 to 16 age group is Dwayne Peace, who is a retired Calgary Police Service officer and he speaks mostly to older kids. Kim Edwards is the facilitator for the 10- to 13-year-old age group and she is a little bit gentler,” said Vestrum.
The representatives of Dare to Care will touch on issues such as bullying, stereotyping, cliques and other school-oriented issues that youths face.
Vestrum said that the group is hoping to pull in 60 moms with their daughters on the first day, and at least 40 moms for the second day.