14 May Letting it go: G Day Vancouver 2014
It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through…
As if the song “Let it Go” had not been doing the rounds of my mind enough since having taken my daughter to see Frozen, it took on an even greater significance as the long-planned day approached. In addition to being a fulfillment of a childhood dream and legacy gift to my daughter (who will be old enough to attend next year!) and her peers, G Day was a milestone expression of my leadership, creativity and vision.
Before I get into details about my impressions, I want to express gratitude for everyone who was touched by or participated in G Day in any way, shape or form. I am in awe of the incredible Speakers, Artists, volunteers, donors, Charity Partner and Sponsors who collectively floated the boat. And I am in awe of the 250 brave and curious girls who graced us with their glorious, radiant presences, who gifted us with sharing a day with them.
As a parent myself, I well know the feeling of uncertainty when I send my child into the care of others, especially people I don’t know. It goes so much deeper than worrying about whether she’ll be safe, have fun or learn something: it’s a sacred trust. Big gratitude to you, parents and guardians, who trusted us to provide a special experience for your girls.
A few random tidbits of awesomeness for you to start:
- 250 girls came not just from Vancouver, but from as far afield as Calgary, Vancouver Island, Cortes Island and all over the Lower Mainland.
- We provided 50 free and partially sponsored tickets to girls who would not have otherwise been able to attend for financial reasons.
- We raised $1,700 for a girls’ education project to be implemented by G Day Vancouver 2014’s Charity Partner imagine1day, as well as creating a “Chain of Hearts” that carries the wishes of the Vancouver G Day girls to their peers in Ethiopia.
So how was it? There is no single word that can do justice to everyone’s experience, so I’ll explore a few different ones.
Chaotic: in both good and not-so-great ways. The good chaos was one of the day’s highlights for me: seeing 250 girls and several dozen adults completely abandoning any sense of self-consciousness whatsoever and letting it rip in a riotous, euphoric dance. Honest to Goddess, it was one of the best moments I have ever had the good fortune to be part of in my entire life. We all need more of this, and yet we are so busy shutting ourselves down or thinking that we should calm down or not draw attention to ourselves. It was the opposite of repressed: it was ecstatic and crazy and unbound and slightly out of control and brilliant.
Not-so-great chaos things arose due to me forgetting (or not thinking of in the first place) details that fortunately the volunteer team jumped in and improvised, organized and made work. Getting all of the volunteers and participants in and out of the space in a timely fashion was another challenge that, with some quick thinking, patience and good humour, we gracefully overcame. There were moments of frustration for some parents with parking and logistics. I would also do the food differently next time.
G Day was also beautiful, overwhelming, inspiring, tiring, thought-provoking, touching, gregarious, confusing, happy, liberating and totally unique. It did everything that we had hoped for, and more.
Did everyone have a great time? Sadly, no. One of my biggest regrets about G Day was not honouring the desire of some of the girls to be seated with their friends. Our thinking was that it would support our goal of creating Sisterhood for them to meet girls from different schools and parts of the city. Taking some of them out of their comfort zone wasn’t worth it, however, and I’m sorry that we didn’t find a way to make it happen (to be honest, part of my resistance was purely administrative – I just didn’t know how to do it.)
My second-biggest regret is that we didn’t allow enough time for the Circles to function as we had hoped. The idea was for there to be intermittent processing in small groups as the day went along, however in the end there was too much Speaker and Artist content (all of it wonderful, mind you), which pushed aside the needed time for conversation and reflection. I know that the Circle Leaders were looking forward to working actively with their Circles however ended up feeling more like a cleanup crew than Big Sisters.
What was awesome? That it happened at all seems too obvious to even remark upon, however I think it’s important. Creating G Day took buckets of vision, armloads of courage and months of plain hard work. When I first announced it publicly I received emails from about a dozen people telling me that they had always wanted to do something along these lines, however not known where to start or felt under-resourced.
The difference between something actually happening or being a forgotten dream in a psychic back drawer is not just having an abundance of smart and willing helpers, however: it is the willingness to risk disappointment, for it not to be perfect – for it even to fail. I am still living with ideas coming through my mind about what I could have done better or should have thought of, almost to the point where I forget that that pretty much everyone had an incredible time, and that we now have something to build on.
We had incredible presentations and activities that spanned leadership, compassion, assertiveness, creativity, self-expression, community, puberty and sexuality, resilience, the Divine Feminine and global consciousness: holy soul food!
Together we created something new, different, innovative, inspiring and, most importantly, real. We will process the feedback and use it to make more and possibly even better G Days.
Please take time to review Wendy D’s gorgeous photos to get a better sense of the richness of the day. Thank you again to everyone who was part of it: together, we made magic and started a movement. Stay tuned for more news coming soon!