BRAVE 2023 is coming! You won’t want to miss this exciting event for girls, ages 12 to 18, happening in communities across the territory from March to May. This is the third year that The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda has partnered with BRAVE Global to bring this “catalytic movement for girls” to our territory, and we are confident it will be the best one yet.
What is a catalytic movement? A catalyst is an agent that provokes change or action. BRAVE Global is a movement to inspire and empower all girls, but especially those who are vulnerable, and encourage them to be their own advocate. BRAVE also acts as a way to connect girls to the community. That’s where we—The Salvation Army—come in.
The Salvation Army has a long history of serving those who face difficult circumstances. We are a movement for justice and change, with communityfocused churches. Our partnership with BRAVE epitomizes that love for people and the desire to see growth and hope, while rooted in our local context. Like The Salvation Army in its earliest days, we believe that placing girls and women at the centre of our mission is one of the greatest strategies for change, in policy and in practice, at every level.
BRAVE is a movement that starts with meeting girls where they are, regardless of socio-economic circumstance, educational attainment, life experience or goals and ambitions. The Salvation Army will host BRAVE 2023 events all over the country, with the goal of communicating strength and agency to all young women who attend.
The events will include videos of a keynote presentation, a panel of speakers and a special downtown Toronto segment, and local organizers will have access to top-notch resources and ideas for activities. Ministry units often go above and beyond with the décor, workshops and food accompanying the speakers. Last year, some of the workshops included a self-defence guest instructor and a popup thrift store.
But it’s important to remember that it’s not the programs, décor or even the quality of the speakers that makes the greatest difference in the lives of all attendees. The most essential element of BRAVE is the relationships that occur in the weeks, months and years after the event.
BRAVE events are an opportunity to begin the journey of creating trust and common ground with girls from all walks of life. BRAVE circles and the use of the Army’s Grow curriculum for girls, developed by the women’s ministries department, are arguably the most important part of this journey. Contemporary research has shown that mentorship, community and connections have a profoundly protective effect against trafficking, offending and violence.
Here’s what some of the leaders who attended BRAVE had to say:
“One girl that has always been a troubled child started to see her worth. She improved her grades, wanted to participate in school activities and asked for help after school. Her whole attitude changed. She truly turned her bad attitude into something good. The speakers really touched her heart. She realizes that she can do anything she puts her mind to.”
“I thought it was just amazing. The message is so positive and uplifting. When I saw how happy the girls were, it gave me chills. I felt very empowered. Thank you so much. We would love to participate again next year.”
The girls themselves described the event as “amazing” and “hopeful” and especially looked forward to shopping at the pop-up thrift store and learning from the speakers.
We are so hopeful for the impact that the BRAVE 2023 event will have. We hope you are, too!
For more information, follow Salvationist Women on Instagram or Facebook, or email rebekah.mcneilly@ salvationarmy.ca.
Rebekah McNeilly is the social media and resource co-ordinator for women’s ministries in the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
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