SANTA CRUZ -- A group of girls got a lesson in boundaries, empowerment, healthy communication and more Sunday from an Oakland-based group that uses theatrics as a teaching tool.
GoGirls! came to Santa Cruz for the first time for a two-hour workshop at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. The group plans to return for a camp for girls in the first through sixth grades slated for June 24 to 28, also at the museum, co-founder Lynn Johnson said.
Johnson and co-founder Allison Kenny led the workshop in a museum auditorium, where they had put up colorful posters about meeting challenges, kind self-talk, decision-making, emotional health, gratitude and more.
Kenny told the 25 or so girls and adults about simple steps to take to feel calm, confident and aware, such as better posture and a confident gait and being conscious of surroundings to the point that one's shoulders move when they turn.
And, she said, "you can feel one way and act another."
Engaging the girls and bringing them to the front with her at times, she suggested words and movements to take when confronted with peer pressure.
One example she gave was a friend pushing for something by saying, "I thought we were friends." She told the girls they could simply answer, "We are friends. But stop."
Another response she suggested was, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I want you to stop."
Ginger Dykaar of Santa Cruz brought her 10-year-old daughter
"It's fun, I love the energy," Dykaar said. "It's important for girls to learn these kinds of things."
Davidson agreed, saying she thought it had been empowering for them.
Kenny, who is also a certified KidPower instructor, will lead the summer workshop, Johnson said.
Girls that week will create their own plays to explore social and emotional themes, she said, and it will include a Friday afternoon performance in the museum's atrium.
Outside class, Johnson said she was drawn to Santa Cruz in part by the way museum director Nina Simon has led the museum to a more active, central and innovative role in the community.
"We're excited; the museum is such a great fit for us," she said.
Irene van der Zande, founder of Santa Cruz-based Kidpower International said earlier that she expected Sunday's GoGirls! workshop to be fun and empowering, and that it includes parts of KidPower's safety skills curriculum.
For more information, visit http://gogirlscamp.com.
Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly on Twitter at Twitter.com/cathykelly9