Girl Programs

The Women’s Centre is responsive to the needs of our community. Many women who used the Centre communicated a desire to have a space for girls to build their capacity in leadership and activism. We know that girls have experiences that are unique to their gender. As a result of systemic sexism, racism, poverty, and other injustices, adolescent girls often face low self-esteem, mental health concerns, violence, restrictive gender expectations, and many other issues. We also know, however, that girls are strong, courageous, resourceful and more than able to respond to these issues as activists and leaders in their communities. Our programs provide opportunities for participants to explore how to make the world a better place for girls, while at the same time building a supportive community and having fun.

Girl Programs participants will:

  • Build their self-esteem, confidence and belief in their own abilities
  • Connect with a community of girls, and build supportive friendships
  • Explore and develop their leadership skills by engaging in small and medium-sized projects, workshops, and leading sessions of their own
  • Gain an introduction to activism, social justice, and social change
  • Meet cool women, girl leaders, and activists from the local community

Who should participate?

Young people in grades 5-12 who identify as girls are welcome to participate in our programming. There is no screening process. The programs are free, and provide supplies, food and bus tickets in order to ensure that everyone can access them.

The Programs

Girl Programs for girls are developed in partnership with participants and in response to issues they say are important to them. All programs take place at the Women’s Centre in Crescent Heights (39 4 Street NE).

Girl Power, Grades 5 & 6

  • Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon during the school year
  • Program runs 4-5:30pm, doors open at 3pm
  • Programming is a combination of fun, engaging workshops led by staff, volunteers and community partners; girl-led sessions; celebrations; action projects and self-care activities

Girl Force, Grades 7 – 9

  • Every Tuesday evening during the school year
  • Program runs from 6-8pm
  • Programming is a combination of fun, engaging workshops led by staff, volunteers and community partners; girl-led sessions, celebrations, action projects and self-care activities

Girl Up, Grades 10 – 12

  • Every Monday from 6-8pm during the school year
  • Programming involves a combination of leadership activities, reflection opportunities, community building sessions, small action projects, meetings and workshops led by girls, and the planning of a conference for girls in grades 5-12

Spring & Summer Programs

  • Girl Power and Girl Force offer week-long spring and summer day camps
  • Girl Up involves weekly summer sessions
  • Registration for spring programs available only to girls who have attended after school programs for two or more times. Summer programs registration begins mid-April

Girls’ Walking Tour

  • As part of the city-wide Jane’s Walk weekend in May, girls organize a walking tour to raise awareness about the issues that are important to girls in Calgary
  • Organized in partnership with the Awo’taan Healing Lodge Society and Aboriginal Friendship Centre’s Youth Mentorship Program in 2019
  • Free for the community to attend

Girl Connect Conference

  • Annual girl-led conference, free for girls in grades 5-12
  • Saturday, October 12, 2019
  • For girls to gather as a community, explore leadership and activism, and have fun!

How do I register?

For inquiries or to register for Girl Power, contact Alexe Bernier at alexe@womenscentrecalgary.org. For Girl Force and Girl Up, contact Grace Millar at grace@womenscentrecalgary.org. Both can be reached at 403-264-1155.

To stay connected, follow @girlsleadyyc on Instagram.

The Impact

Participants and their guardians alike have told us about the positive impact our programming has had on girls.

  • “I’ve learned that you can talk to people about feelings.”
  • “The program was really diverse on genders, cultures, and sexuality so it was very comfortable”
  • 85% of girls who’ve attended the programs see themselves as leaders
  • “[The program] gave me the chance to hang out with like-minded teens, and helped me feel empowered”
  • 95% of girls in the programs know ways of changing the world that they didn’t know before

Our Partners

Our programs are possible thanks to the generous support of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), the Collaborative Funder’s Table, Jupiter Resources Ltd.Soroptimist, Status of Women, Cadillac Fairview and Shaw Charity Classic. We also work closely with Calgary Sexual Health Centre.