by Mikaela B. ’22, Mae C. ’20, Claudia H. ’21, Annette L. ’21, and Anya S. ’21
Over the weekend of the 20-22 of September, we departed Seattle late Thursday night to fly to New York for the Riley’s Way Youth Leadership Retreat in the Catskill Mountains of New York. We arrived at the airport without any idea what we were getting into; we weren’t very familiar with each other or Riley’s Way as an organization. By the end of the retreat we were all inspired by the message of kind leadership and our bonded group of girls.
Throughout the weekend, we stayed in typical camp cabins sharing close quarters and stories late into the night (the last night we stayed up talking until 1am; Ms. Selim and Ms. Long were not thrilled). During the day, we went to many workshops, did camp activities, and learned about the importance of kind and impactful leadership and how to implement it into our lives.
It was inspiring to hear from girls across the country as they shared the issues and organizations they were passionate about. One of our highlights was two of the student led workshops, headlined by four of the Lakeside girls; Claudia H. ’21, Annette L. ’21, and Kathryn H. ’21 shared the importance of healthy relationships through their connection to the organization One Love, and Eman H. ’20 led a workshop about her organization, Purple America - dedicated to bridging political gaps.
We were able to meet girls from across the country, making bonds that have extended past our short weekend. Our favorite moments included many TikTok dances, conversations with new people, beautiful weather, and disconnect from any stress at home. After all of these amazing experiences, we are forever grateful for the memories we made and we hope to sustain these connections for the rest of our lives. We’re ready to start making change!