Leadership Training! by Soleteer Olivia

October 6, 2015

Posted In: Community

I was SOLE excited a couple of weeks ago to spend a day at Sole Girls Leadership Training! As I walked up to the door of Daisy’s Sandwiches & Such, marked by a big pink balloon swaying in the breeze, I was greeted by nine smiling ladies and the smell of freshly baked muffins.
I was excited to see some familiar faces I had met before at Sole Girls as well as ladies I didn’t know, but would soon!

I enjoyed the training so much I wanted to share it with everyone what you can expect and why Sole Girls and the training have made such a big difference in my life!

We spent the first part of the morning getting uncomfortable doing some activities to bring the group closer together – we call them ice breakers!! They were super fun and forced us to get to know the other people really quick!
Then we got down to it: focusing on ourselves and doing some reflection. The first pages of my workbook comprised of thinking about my top 5 values, creating a vision mind map for the year 2015, and from it devising a plan for the week to help me get to where I wanted to be. Ashley guided us through this process and I was surprised to learn some new things about myself!


Everyone around the semi-circle was focused intently, scribbling furiously or jotting down notes. I must admit, some anxiousness set in as I wrote down my goals for the year, realizing how quickly the winter had passed already. There is so much that I want to accomplish this year!!!  I even made a brand new – a goal to run a half marathon this spring, something I never, ever thought I would even want to try! I feel like Dreams and goals are motivating, inspiring and something to look forward to reaching – but without a plan in place, its easy to get off track or feel like they’re just too hard. We spent time writing actionable plans for the week ahead that covered different areas in my life… I am going to be busy! Taking this time to focus inwardly is key to being a leader, and as I did was reminded of what leadership is really all about – living by example.


Now it was time to shift the focus to the reason we were gathered as a group – Tween girls. We broke off to discuss our past-selves at 8 years old, which proved very hard to recall. As comments were bounced around, my tween self appeared more clearly in my memory…how long had it been since I’d thought back to that age?!  All of us agreed – it wasn’t a time without its difficulties, even if we may not have realized it at the time. Anxiety, fears, competitiveness, mean girls, and body-image struggles were all very real from as early as third grade. Knowing that all of these persist into young adulthood, it made me feel good about being a part of an organization that not only acknowledges this, but aims to offer clarity and guidance in these areas.  Our group spent the next portion of the afternoon breaking off in pairs to role-play how to talk to Tweens and how to deal with challenging questions they may ask, relating to our personal lives, or topics as difficult as suicide.


The next area of training was all about our role as leaders.  We reviewed the qualities that make a good leader, and a bad one. Lasting memories of leaders that we had were all passionate about their work, exuded confidence, and related to others. Not so memorable were of leaders that lacked presence, were disconnected from the group, and were self-involved.


We took the time to reflect on our own strengths in leadership, which left me feeling invigorated with all I had learned during the day and all I can offer as a leader for the next generation. It is so important that every girl that goes through Sole Girls is able to connect with at least one person and know they are not alone.


As Soleteers, fired by our experiences and compassion for others, our privilege is to fill that need by being a positive role-model and actively listening to and supporting the ideas and feelings of every Sole Girl, upholding the S.O.L.E Values (Support, Open Mindedness, Loving & Listening, Enthusiasm and Encouragement) in our own lives and in each interaction with those following our lead.


Before I knew it, the training day was over and it was time to head back out into the sunshine. We took the ending time to debrief the day and exchange contact information – I had a new handful of like-minded, enthusiastic, beautiful friends! I left Daisy’s feeling SOLE AWESOME. Even though I had been through a Soleteer training before, I was clearer about what it meant to be a role-model, and I felt equipped with all we had covered in the session to grow in myself and foster the growth of the girls in my group next term.


Coach Ashley was an amazing facilitator for the day, and truly exemplifies exactly what she is hoping to see in us. Between games, talking, writing, eating and sharing, we strengthened this community even more which I know will pay dividends in not only the number of girls we impact, but the capacity of that impact.