The HER Girl Club is a youth organization that was created with the mission of providing a safe and nurturing place for girls to be themselves.
The group was created in October 2020 and has members from the communities of Rocanville and Moosomin. Its president, Paige Hutchinson, created the organization in the hope of bringing young women together safely during the pandemic on a monthly basis.
“It was a great time to start the band because I think a lot of people have used the pandemic as an excuse not to connect, but there are so many safe ways to connect around it. You can do things outdoors, wear masks, follow directions, or even do things virtually. There are so many ways to connect and I wanted that to happen, I’m glad we started it.
“It was great that we started it when we did it because nothing was happening. All of these children had no connection or activity to do while school was canceled for them. It was positive because there were girls looking to hook up, no one was busy at the time, so it worked.
The HER in the name of clubs stands for honesty, empowerment and sparkle.
“The ‘H’ stands for honesty, just to be honestly yourself and come across as who you are and not who society wants you to be or who you think a girl should be. The ‘E’ is for empowerment, for girls to feel empowered and for them to empower others. The “R” stands for outreach intended to radiate that honesty and empowerment into the community, ”Hutchinson said.
The organization currently has 15-20 girls in grades 5-12 participating in each event. Events are held on a monthly basis and always involve a mentor who suggests activities related to their goal for that month.
This month’s event was hosted by Class with Cass Holistic Nutrition and aimed to teach girls about nutrition and why it is important to their health.
Hosted by Cassidy Robidoux, the event consisted of girls making healthy gingerbread houses while enjoying “shots” of fresh juice. Robidoux also made the group aware of nutritional facts. By teaching them which foods have high levels of protein, vitamins, minerals and the differences between macronutrients and micronutrients.
After building their own gingerbread houses, the girls had to explain which fruits, nuts and syrups they were using and why they were healthy.
Hutchinson says the group is above all about exploring the possibilities.
“For me, it’s about exposing girls to possibilities. As if I had left Rocanville for university for five years and my eyes opened so much, in terms of personal growth, personal development, opportunities, career development. Especially when a woman gets older sometimes there’s always this mindset of thinking “I could be a nurse, a teacher”, just those traditional roles and I think that’s still the mindset, especially in a small town. ”
“I just want to expose the girls to as many female role models as possible and be like, that’s what’s possible for you. If you have dreams, if you have goals, these are possible. I just want girls to get a head start in life, to start this growth journey earlier, ”Hutchinson said.
HER Girl Club Vice President Lauren van Dyke was able to secure a $ 1,000 grant from Nutrien Rocanville.
“Donations and grants run our events. Our events would not be possible without donations or fundraising. We are a non-profit organization and we started this group with no money, most of our events were also funded by the girls just to run them.
Hutchinson says there is a $ 2 payment for the girls to participate, which helps fund events and cover rental costs. She says the ultimate goal is to give girls free access to events.
“If anyone is looking to donate, even $ 45, that helps with our rental. Last year Jen Gawryluk called me and told me she wanted to donate, I told her that $ 50 would help cover our rental space. Then she sends me an wire transfer, I open it for $ 500. So last year Jen was our main sponsor and then she donated again this year and paid the fees for all the girls at one of the events.
Other donations came from event hosts Shaquyll Cook, Amanda Selby and Cassidy Robidoux.
“Usually what people donate is their time, skills and supplies, and that’s the best way to do it. We don’t need a lot of money, obviously the more money we can make, but at the end of the day that’s not our goal. Our goal is to connect these girls to as many role models and opportunities as possible in the community. ”
“Your time is the most precious thing you can give to our club, if it’s something that people want to get involved in then it’s something we need,” said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson says she’s proud of the girls in the group.
“I certainly didn’t know it would take a year, I’m always looking at new projects and thought if it took off it was good, but if not, at least we had the chance to organize a few fun events. I’m really proud of the girls, the girls are very excited to come and they are really involved. They are so grateful I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to come to these events.
“I guess I’m just really proud of them, it’s really great to see their enthusiasm because it will get you so far in life.
“If you’re enthusiastic and care about things, that’s all you need, whether it’s in your personal life, your family life, or even your career.”
Part of the HER Girl Club’s advocacy is about giving back to the community, says Hutchinson, the group does this by inviting role models to their events.
“There are very few events that we have organized that do not involve women in the community. We did a painting night, a bowling night, some of it is a little more fun like we were going to the theater. It is also a local thing, we support the locals by using the community facilities. Also, because it was during Covid some of those facilities weren’t as busy so it was great to get out and support them, ”she says.
Hutchinson says she hopes the organization will continue to thrive and wants to continue to introduce band members to more female role models.
“It enlightens you on the inside when you know you are doing something meaningful. I really hope there will be retention and people will want to get involved to continue this legacy and hopefully pass it on for a few years. Mainly because these girls are awesome and I know there are a lot of fourth grade girls looking forward to joining next year so this is something I’m looking forward to.