I had the distinct pleasure of connecting with 11 stellar young women who are a part of the Miss. Kamloops Ambassador program. Having represented our city as Miss. Kamloops waaaaaaay back in 1993, I have always had fond memories of the program and am interested in helping where I can with the program through speaking and mentorship.
Our time together was focused on the topic of Real Women Working Hard. I had the opportunity to share my career path and its crazy ups and downs considering I’m in communications and stakeholder engagement today and I at one point was in pre-dentistry at university. I also shared insight into what I enjoy, how I set priorities, etc… My favourite part though was issuing the “Be Brave Engage Challenge” to these young women a few weeks before our time together, asking them to think of something within their lives where they could bravely engage, and then share what they did.
I know being brave and engaging seems easier for some of us who are more outgoing or extroverted than it would for those who are a little more reserved. But these young women, even the self proclaimed ‘shy’ ones, took on the challenge with intentionality and determination. Prior to hearing what they did, I wondered to myself:
Would they even want to do it
If they did, how diverse would their experiences be and
If they would take something positive away from this experience. In short, I was blown away!
Not only did they all take on the challenge, but each had a different experience which helped bring greater fulfilment to their lives. Here’s a summary of what they did:
One of the young ladies had always wanted to start a science club at her school. The “be brave engage challenge” pushed her to do it and she started a club with much support from teachers and others at her school. She feels proud of herself for moving forward on this. Any science folks want to connect with her, let me know!
Another young lady spoke at a Parent’s Advisory Council meeting pertaining to violence against women. One of the parents at that meeting was so impressed that she invited the young lady to speak to a university class on the topic. She was nervous but told herself to ‘be brave engage’ over and over, did the talk, and was super happy she did it. Her talk went over well and inspired others.
One of the young ladies volunteered to teach an art class over spring break, teaching kids much younger than her as well as more peer-level students. She walked away enriched from teaching others her skills and talents, and proud she had taken on something out of the normal for her.
Another young lady let her name stand for a science scholarship her guidance counsellor nominated her for. She said she normally would not have let her name stand, but she essentially got out of her own way, was brave and engaged, and has applied. Although she will not know the results for a while, regardless she learned she can step up and take advantage of opportunities that come along.
One of the ladies did a mock parliament (like model UN) over the spring break and learned how to debate, made new connections, and is now considering the real possibility of entering the field of politics one day.
Others talked about being brave and engaging at their places of work: complimenting customers, engaging in conversation with people, having tough conversations with those in authority about their ideas, and engaging in random acts of kindness. Each experience not only rewarded the “brave engager” with a greater sense of fulfillment, but they were able to create positive ripple effects making the lives of those they engaged with better.
And finally, one of the young ladies talked about how she has been contemplating a career in one field for many years and has shared those dreams with others. Recently, she has been interested in looking at a career in trades but was not sure how to share that news with her family. She bravely engaged in a conversation and the results? Her family totally supports her in pivoting and trying something new, perhaps even saving her years on a path she was only staying on for fear others might not be okay with this new direction.
This time with these young women was so much fun and seeing them light up with the understanding that they have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and aspirations with their actions. Sometimes though, we all need that little push to move us from stationary to in motion. Like these young ladies, think of something you could push yourself to do that you’ve been wanting to do, and be brave, engage!