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Sep24ThuWomen’s Ministries launches new program for girls ages 12-17 September 24, 2020 Captain Laura Van Schaick
Our children are growing up faster than ever before, and the world they are growing up in is much different than the world we knew even a decade ago. The world is becoming increasingly digital, increasingly sexual, and increasingly chaotic on a global scale. Unfortunately, because of this rapidly shifting culture, we, as adults, have not always given children the tools to grow up healthy in our society.
This is especially true when it comes to adolescent girls. While all teens struggle with things such as purpose, confidence and identity, girl’s struggles are often magnified in light of the considerable cultural pressures placed upon the female gender in general. By the time a young girl is six, she has already been socialized to believe that boys have the potential to be smarter than girls, and by age seven she will likely believe she is valued more for her looks than her personality. What’s more, the authors of The Confidence Code for Women found that girls’ confidence falls 30% from age 8 to 14, and often does not recover as they transition to adulthood.
We want to change this. That’s why The Salvation Army Canada & Bermuda Territory is introducing Grow, a program designed by Women’s Ministries specifically for girls ages 12 to 17. The vision of Grow is that, through intentionally investing in teen girls, some of these trends might be reversed or even stopped before they take root. We long to see girls grow in their identity as beloved children of God and to understand their worth and potential to make a positive impact in the world around them as, “their roots grow deep into Jesus.” (Colossians 2:7 NLT)
Plants that are regularly irrigated have notoriously shallow root systems. They come to rely upon predictable feeding that comes in the form of manual watering. If this watering is ever removed, or if strong winds come, the result is often the uprooting and ultimate death of the plants.
The opposite is true for plants who rely on natural rainfall. These plants have roots that go deep into the ground, ensuring that they can access deep ground water sources and also have the ability to stand strong through storms.
All too often, youth discipleship is comprised of a youth leader irrigating a young person’s life. While it can be good to water a seedling, in the long term a tree should be left to survive off natural rainfall if it is to grow big and strong. Through Grow girls will be equipped with life skills and critical thinking tools so that they can thrive as they transition from adolescence into adulthood in all aspects of their lives, including spiritually.
Grow will help girls explore themes of leadership, spiritual formation and social justice. A variety of activities will help girls understand themselves and the world around them, while guided Bible studies will invite girls to dive deep into scripture to discover what God says about growing in Him. Life applications will then help girls apply God’s truth to their lives, while life skills sessions such as sewing, car care, and public speaking will prepare girls practically as they transition into independence.
Teens are wrestling with a lot of complex issues, and they need a safe space to talk about these. Talk About It, one component of Grow, was developed with support from The Salvation Army’s Ethics Centre and provides a framework for girls to discuss topics such as sexuality, media, and race in a non-judgmental, faith-based setting. Many topics align with The Salvation Army’s international position statements and offer girls a way to engage with these important topics in an age appropriate way.
We want to see girls raised up to be like mature trees planted by streams of water, able to withstand any drought or storm that comes their way, because their roots grow deep into Jesus.
To learn more about Grow, check it out at https://salvationist.ca/women-s-ministries/grow/.