Dear Friends, We are reveling in the long summer days with our 170 campers. Our girls have been playing GLI games, learning leadership skills, taking leaps on the high ropes course, navigating white water rapids, expressing themselves through various art media (dance, photography, silent film, and poetry, among others), and enjoying old-fashioned summer camp activities. …

One of the greatest things about working for GLI – besides the water fights, sing-alongs, birthday cakes, and post-ropes course a-wooing – is the annual opportunity to work on my communication skills. Being emotionally honest, authentically expressing myself, and handling issues without damaging relationships are skills that take practice, even well into adulthood. I’m lucky …

The winter dance at my school is a Sadie Hawkins dance, so the girls are supposed to ask the guys. Some of my friends and I pretty much decided that we aren’t going to go to the dance this year. While talking to my friend Sara, who does want to go to the dance, I …

My first month of college meant getting used to a monumental list of new things: being away from home, living with three other girls in a cramped room, and making a completely new set of friends, all in addition to classes. It’s a lot to be thrown in to. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve really …

Where I come from, if you bully someone you’d better expect a fight. No “inside feelings” allowed. That is not what we teach the girls here at GLI, but it is a very real part of my experience. So I’m confronted with this question: although I consider myself a Real Girl, am I the Real …

Hi Rachel,

There’s this girl that I’ve been friends with for several years and I’ve always considered her as my best friend. Lately, though, she hasn’t really been acting like a friend. She has been putting me down a lot with little teasing remarks. I mean they aren’t that major just small things, but I’m a very sensitive person and they really hurt.

I don’t say anything because I don’t want her to think that I’m overly sensitive, emotional, or weak, so I just kind of shrug them off and try to forgive and forget, which for me is nearly impossible.

If only I’d kept my big mouth shut! Admittedly, it was my own fault. At the time, it seemed like such a good idea. I had an all girl staff and everyone held a leadership position. Logically, I would teach them Girls Leadership Institute stuff. Duh! Then my colleagues would know—or at least have some sort of familiarity—with giving and receiving constructive criticism, active listening, and “I statements”; what it takes to be an effective leader, pushing and avoiding scripts, and positive ways to manage conflict. So maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised when one of the girls used what she learned from me, on me.

It started on the giant’s ladder. It started at the ropes course on the peer leadership retreat senior year of high school. Rosa and I literally pulled each other up every rung and we were the only group to make it to the very top. It actually didn’t really start there, but both of us will tell the story of the ladder as the day we became friends. It really started one day in October, a month after the retreat. After school we decided to take a walk through Prospect Park and proceeded to tell each other our life story. We had both been badly hurt the previous year by nasty friendships, and that day we decided to be the one friend in each other’s life that would never do anything like “that” again. We made a pact.

I’m a problem-solver. A can-do kind of person. I take the bull by the horns and make things happen. None of which helps me when it comes to my daughter and her friendship challenges. Once we have babies we transform into People Who Get Stuff Done, regardless of who we were before. There is no such …