If you think about it, the mission of our organization is pretty huge. Amazing, but huge. We want to build girls of courage, confidence and character, and that is no small thing. And then, we want them to go out there and make the world a better place. That isn’t a task they finish by the time they age out of the Ambassador program. It’s more like a philosophy to live by, a way of being in the world that shapes their whole life.
What about the women who work and volunteer with our organization? You realize we have to ask ourselves; Are we living courageously? Are we confident? Are we known for our character?
In what ways am I making the world a better place?
We ask girls to learn by making their own decisions, acting on those decisions, and engaging others in the task. Isn’t that what we mean by girl led, learning by doing and cooperative learning? When that process applies to us grown-up girls it’s not uncommon to hear all the reasons why we don’t have the time, money, energy, or support to learn the things we’d like to learn. Or the things we need to learn. Sometimes those stories are shared with others, and sometimes they remain quietly unexamined.
I think there is a link between our commitment to learning and our capacity for risk-taking. If I don’t value the process of learning, and fixate instead on effectiveness or measurable results, I’m less likely to step out with courage or confidence. I’m less likely to risk the necessary failure which happens along a lifetime of developing character. When outcomes are the measure of my being in this world, I will want to control them, and that will limit me to predictable arenas where I know I can succeed. I will only “learn” by doing what I am reasonably sure I can successfully do- the things that yield instantly visible results. But I’m afraid that if we don’t pay attention, we will wake up one morning and realize that we’ve missed the larger, long term character building in our own lives that is needed to make the world a better place.
And the truth is, it’s a much more authentic process to facilitate a girl’s journey when I’m aware of my own journey. We want to model the process of learning, so that our leadership experience validates the program model we use. So that it inspires young women. So that our support is real. So that we’re truly doing our part to make this world a better place.