24 Feb G Day Story: Madeline Ell
What was life like for you as a 10-12 year old girl?
As a young girl, my days were filled with music and dancing, friends and countless family members, but also fraught with a lot of worry. I struggled with a debilitating fear of getting sick. My anxieties and inside thoughts were sometimes so strong that they controlled my every move. I remember playing sports and singing in choirs, I remember being a competitive dancer and playing the trumpet and loving being on stage. I knew that as a young girl I had more opportunities than my mum had, than my Grandma had or my Great Grandma had – But I always had this chirping voice in my head, a constant worry about how far away flu seasons was or whether anyone else had touched the food I was about to eat. For me, I never considered becoming a woman or getting my period scary just because it was a change and something new, for me I was simply scared to use the public bathroom. Despite my inner challenges, I know that being 10 or 11 or 12 was also the time in my life when I had the most opportunities to try. It was at this time that I developed one of my most cherished traits of being willing to try ANYTHING which has made me who I am today. I was fortunate to have a family and community support system that was so carefully woven around me that luckily, I started to learn that there was a world out there beyond my fears and I wanted to be in it.
What do you think is important about G Day?
G Day is important because it gives girls the opportunity to be 10 or 11 or 12 or whatever age they are RIGHT NOW and not worry about the future yet. It’s an opportunity to learn that you’re not alone and that there are other girls out there that maybe don’t go to your school or aren’t in your dance class, but they’re going through the same things as you are. On a larger scale, G Day is important because it’s an opportunity to build community – something that is slowly being lost in our modern world. It’s critical to teach young girls the importance of a sisterhood and a larger role within their community and it is essential to remind champions about this too. We must all champion our own children but also other peoples children – and truly become the village.
What pieces of advice might you have for your adolescent self?
I always wish I could tell my younger self to worry less. I wish my younger self knew that in time, she would develop all of the coping mechanisms that she needed to get through the day or through the flu season. I wish I could tell her that it’s okay to leap – a net will always appear.
Care to share a brief bio of who you are today?
I left home and embarked on my adult journey at 19 and never looked back. Today, I’m a storyteller of sorts. I strive to stay spongey – like when I was young, able to absorb information, experiences and the intricacies of our world and never get full. I work with organizations and companies of all sorts telling their stories through digital mediums and learning about business through their guidance. I’ve traveled the world, fallen in love, cried on my birthday, jumped in the freezing ocean in the middle of winter and started 3 small companies on my own. I believe in positive disruption of the “norm” and that “everything in moderation, including moderation” is Grandma advice never to be forgotten.
Madeline Ell is Calgary 2016’s Community Leader. Born and raised in Calgary, Madeline knows what it’s like to be a young girl in Calgary and all of the wonderful opportunities for youth that the growing city has to offer. She’s been part of choirs, sports clubs, theatre, education programs, The Calgary Youth Orchestra, the bands of Calgary and the Calgary Stampede from the time she was 3 years old. Madeline believes that no girl should be left behind and similarly, no memory should be left behind without being documented. Her technical speciality lies in virtually every stage of video production but at heart, she’s a memory holder and storyteller. If you’re interested in becoming involved with G Day Calgary, please contact Madeline at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or fill out the volunteer application form.