Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Build Me Up

Dads and other adult male caregivers play a special role in setting girls up for success. Father-daughter relationships lay the foundation for a girl’s confidence and her future relationships with and expectations of men. In June, GSCCC hosted Build Me Up, a workshop for girls and their male caregivers to spend quality time together while taking part in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) challenges. Build Me Up took place at the C. Waldo Scott Center for Hope in Newport News, which provides comprehensive services to families who live nearby.

After arriving and donning play construction hats, girls and their male caregivers started the day with LEGO-building challenges. They constructed towers and vehicles using different shapes and sizes of blocks. They also put together GoldieBlox, which are engineering blocks designed to appeal to girls, creating everything from airplanes to flowers. A few of the dad-daughter duos took a snap circuit kit and worked together to connect electronic circuit pieces to turn on a radio, ring an alarm or launch a helicopter spinner.

Next, while the girls took part in more LEGO-building activities, the male caregivers gathered for a workshop with Wil LaVeist, journalist, author and host of The Wil LaVeist Show on 88.1 WHOV. LaVeist, whose book Dear Daughter was recently published, encouraged the male caregivers to love and stay close to their daughters. LaVeist’s tips for the caregivers included telling their girls that they love them and meaning it, talking with their girls instead of down to them and speaking positively about their girl’s mother.

“Good fathers want their daughters to grow up to be strong women,” LaVeist said.

After enjoying lunch and a dance party together, the girls and their caregivers split into two groups again. While the fathers spent more time learning from LaVeist and one another, the girls painted and decorated pieces of wooden vehicles—cars, ships, trains and airplanes. The day ended with the girls and caregivers pairing back up to construct their vehicles.

“We have collaborated with the Girl Scouts for at least 10 years,” Crystal Rainey, executive director of the C. Waldo Scott Center for Hope said. “This is the first time that our center has been able to host a program for girls and their male role models, and we are pleased to work with the Girl Scouts to make that happen. It is so important to engage girls in STEM and problem-solving activities, and it is great to be able to see them learn and have fun alongside the men who play important roles in their lives.”

According to The State of Girls, a report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 30 percent of girls ages five to 17 in Virginia live in a single-parent family. Girl Scouts know that families provide girls with critical social, economic and emotional support, which is why the organization provides opportunities for parents and their girls to spend quality time together. Girl Scouts is not just for girls and their moms. Dads, too, can look to Girl Scouts for constructive, adventurous and fun activities to do with their girls.