WORTHINGTON - Young girls will learn leadership skills and how to have healthy friendships, a positive sense of self and more during an upcoming four-day GIRL POWERment camp.

From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 24-27, girls in grades 4-8 will be inspired to embrace who they are while exploring a variety of physical activities, crafts and setting goals for themselves. Planned activities will be centered around the following topics: team building, identity and diversity, leadership, failure and resilience, anti-bullying, “my changing body,” healthy friendships, self-compassion and growth mindset.

Organized and led by sisters Ashley (Raymo) Johnson and Tiffany (Raymo) Neugebauer  and their sister-in-law, Tasha Raymo, Johnson said she wanted to return to her hometown and reach girls about something that’s dear to her heart.

“My favorite saying is ‘there’s only one you. Be the best you you can be,’” Johnson said. “I hope to instill what compassion for yourself looks like and respecting who you are and your identity in the world.”

A mother of three daughters, Johnson said she’s experiencing some of the struggles that girls are encountering in today’s atmosphere.

“I heard a story, unfortunately, that now kids are identifying popularity of how many likes (they) get on Facebook or Instagram,” she said.

Johnson, who now lives in the Twin Cities, works in a rehabilitation management position. Neugebauer and Raymo are teachers at Independent School District 518 in Worthington.

As part of the camp, Johnson hopes to teach girls what she preaches to her own daughters. As part of that mission, camp participants will create affirmation mirrors with the hope of promoting a strong and positive sense of self. Each time they look in the mirror throughout the day they’ll read statements like “I am worthy” and “I am strong.”

“Research says that the more often you visually see or hear something, that’s what you start to believe,” Johnson said. “Hopefully they start believing those things about themselves.”  

There will also be plenty of physical activities for the girls throughout the week. However, Johnson stressed that no prior athletic experience is necessary, as the girls will explore ways to live a physical, healthy lifestyle that doesn’t require running or sports.

Regardless of the activity, Johnson has one main objective in mind.

“I just want the girls to embrace themselves,” she said. “If I can impact one girl’s life that week, then my job is done. That is my goal.”

To register for the GIRL POWERment camp, call the Worthington Area YMCA at 376-6197. The camp is limited to the first 40 registered girls.