Girls with Altitude

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Girls with Altitude (GWA) is a sisterhood that empowers 6th–8th graders to build community and gain valuable leadership skills. This outdoor after-school program creates a safe and welcoming environment for girls to be themselves, explore Hale’s unique wilderness setting, and realize their potential. GWA offers a variety of activities that inspire girls to challenge themselves. The program also provides time and support for girls to complete homework.

Who We Serve

Girls with Altitude serves students from Westwood, Dover, Dedham, Norwood, and Needham. Hale offers transportation on a first-come, first-served basis to Thurston and Coakley Middle School students, but we encourage parents to provide transportation whenever possible. GWA is based at the Trading Post, roughly 0.7 miles from Hale’s Main Entrance at 80 Carby Street, Westwood MA. Pick-up occurs between 5:30 PM and 6 PM.

A Typical Day

Activities include teambuilding challenges, low and high ropes, outdoor living skills, archery, hiking and navigation, group games, sports, cooking, arts and crafts, photography, and more. Here’s a glimpse of a typical day:

  • 2:30-3:00 PM: Arrival, snack, activity preview
  • 3:00-3:30 PM: Energizer and teambuilding challenge
  • 3:30-4:15 PM: Outdoor exploration, challenge, or activity
  • 4:15-5:00 PM: Leadership development activities and discussions
  • 5:00-5:15 PM: Activity debrief, reflection,and positive affirmations
  • 5:15-6:00 PM: Homework time and pick-up

Each afternoon, girls create space to be themselves, share experiences, and develop a supportive network of friends.

Session Topics (Fall 2018)

Each session of GWA is grounded in a specific theme. This fall, we’ll focus on community. Discussions and activities will help girls think critically about what makes a strong community and practice the teamwork and leadership skills necessary to build their own.

Sept. 28—Community Day (Free Open House)

Get to know the GWA team and explore Hale during this Amazing Race-style adventure. We’ll use clues and maps to navigate the trails and pond as we play games and complete challenges along the way. If you aren’t already registered for our fall session but would like to attend this free open house, please sign up here.

Oct. 5—Defining Community

Most of us identify with many communities in all aspects of our lives, but what does that mean? Each GWA cohort establishes its own community identity and values. Today we’ll discuss different types of communities, how they are formed, and how they affect our lives every day.

Oct. 12—Developing Support Systems

Healthy communities strengthen and support their members, and there’s no better way to bring everyone together than a campout at Hale! We’ll work together to set up a campsite, cook our own meals, and complete a variety of games and initiatives. We’ll also discuss the ways in which communities impact our confidence and self-esteem and learn to cope with challenging influences.

Oct. 19—Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses

Everyone brings different talents and abilities to a team. We use various leadership models to identify our individual strengths and discuss how these can be used to positively impact our communities. We’ll test our teamwork skills in a variety of field games.

Oct. 26—Leading a Team

What makes a good leader? Girls will identify the leaders in their communities and discuss the impact they make on the people they work with. Activities will include an introduction to outdoor skills such as orienteering or archery.

Nov. 2—Managing Conflict

We’ll discuss the conflicts we face in our communities, from challenging group projects to difficult cast dynamics in school plays. Groups will brainstorm solutions and role-play conflict resolution scenarios. Today’s activity, Shipwreck, is a favorite at Hale: it’s an intensive team challenge that focuses on outdoor living skills.

Nov. 9—Setting Goals and Creating Change

Everyone is capable of creating change in their communities. We’ll discuss general goal-setting strategies for individual improvement and community development. To end on a high note, we’ll tackle a high ropes element on the challenge course!

It’s the last day of Girls with Altitude, and I feel proud for being me and our group for being us! Self-defense, high ropes, media talk…it’s been a fun journey, and I’m proud that I made it!

Rates and Dates

Our Fall 2018 session includes 7 workshops every Friday between Sept. 28 and Nov. 9:

  • $275 with transportation
  • $250 without transportation

Please enroll using our online registration system.

Register by September 27 and save 10% on our program!

We encourage enrollment for an entire session since workshops build on one another and consistency makes for a stronger community. However, if you are unavailable for the entire session, you are welcome to join us for up to three individual workshops. An individual workshop is $50 with transportation or $45 without transportation. Contact Emily to register for an individual workshop.