Why did you decide to become a Girls’ Net Mentor?
I have worked with preteen and teenage girls for over 20 years and I have seen first-hand how so many struggle with the changes and pressures that growing up brings; and in the current climate this has been even more evident. As a coach and mentor supporting women to build the confidence and courage to be their authentic selves, becoming a Girls’ Net Mentor and supporting girls to build confidence and resilience, has become a natural next layer to my work. It is an honour and a privilege to be able to spend time each week learning and growing with my Girls’ Net girls.
What does your Girls’ Net Mentor role involve?
I work with a group of up to 10 same-aged girls over 6 weeks. Initially I invite parents to a session online so they can meet me and ask questions. Then, each week for an hour and a quarter, the girls and I work through the Girls’ Net programme together. Generally, the girls do not know each other beforehand. They come to me via the Rites for Girls website, word of mouth referral, local schools and youth organisations, my coaching pages on social media, or my marketing in Cornwall. Some girls go to school and some are home educated. My groups always seem to be a lovely mix of girls from across the country.
Describe a typical day for you, on a day you’re running a Girls’ Net session?
All of my Girls’ Net groups are on a week day, so the day starts at 6.30am with some stretching and yoga before breakfast and then walking my son to school. He is six and bike obsessed so he normally cycles to school whilst I walk with our boxer dog Brunie. Then Brunie and I will head a mile down the valley to the beach – I live in a little village in Cornwall. I might go for a quick dip in the sea whilst she watches, or we will just enjoy rock pool hopping or, if the tide is out, the spread of the sands. The beach is my happy place and this daily routine helps to keep me mentally and physically healthy and happy.
After our walk I will return home and prep for my group, which normally takes an hour. And then I might have one of my online private coaching clients, a psychotherapy training module to complete, or if I have an article on the go I will write for a couple of hours.
I normally run my Girls’ Net groups at 6pm, so I pick my son up from school and give him the connection time he craves after school, before our lovely sitter arrives at 5.30pm to allow me time to focus before my group starts.
After the group finishes, I allow myself a little time to reflect on the session and complete any paperwork. Then if my son is still awake we will share a story and snuggle. And then once he is asleep I will have some down time and maybe read or watch a programme. I am currently on a mission to read all of Brene Brown’s books and Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series and I am loving Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Lab at the moment too. Then bed at 10pm!
What challenges have you had to overcome in doing this role?
The logistics of running evening groups as a solo mum to a young child have been my biggest challenge. However, we have found our groove now with the help of a lovely girl from our village who comes to play and help with the bedtime routine while I run my group. It took a while for my son to become used to this but now it’s part of our routine and works well.
What would you say to someone looking into training to become a Girls’ Net Mentor?
If you feel that you could be that wiser, older woman offering mentorship to girls as they grow and change, then DO IT!
The training is intense, tricky and triggering at times, as you have to engage with your own preteen and teen self to help you understand the girls you will be working with. You will learn a whole new skill set, and you will grow and connect with yourself in ways you will not have imagined possible. And that is just the training!
Running your own groups is incredibly rewarding. Knowing you are offering support to girls, in ways that they will not get through school, as they navigate such a tricky and strange time is incredibly fulfilling.
What have you gained from this experience?
Wow, where do I start? Friendship and a community of sisterhood through the other lovely mentors. A technical and mentoring skill set I hadn’t realized I lacked! Seeing the girls absorb the course content and connect with themselves. Knowing that I am making a difference to their lives, now and in the future, makes my heart glow. But the most impactful, personally, has been the understanding and connection to myself.
I have grown so much since beginning the training as a listener, woman, friend, mother, coach and mentor.