This Summer Camp Is Empowering Young Girls Through the Arts
Ruma Bose, entrepreneur, humanitarian leader and former CEO of Chobani invited four innovators to the stage at the #BlogHer17 conference in Orlando, Florida, for SheKnows Media's The Pitch contest. The Pitch is a program that profiles some of the biggest female visionaries of our time and hands the winner of the contest a hefty $50,000 check. Not too shabby, right?
The women were each given two minutes to pitch their business idea to the audience and a panel of judges. The judges asked each contestant some hard-hitting questions, and at the end of all of the pitches, the audience was asked to vote to choose the winner.
The four women pitched app ideas, safety devices and a platform for influencers to generate revenue, but it was Lynn Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Spotlight:Girls who took home the prize.
Spotlight: Girls produces the Go Girls! Camp and celebrates and activates girls and women through multimedia learning experiences, products and events. The company was founded because as a woman of color, Johnson is all too familiar with the discrimination young girls face.
“When I was 6 years old, I auditioned for the lead role in my first play. I was amazing. Everyone knew that I was the Meryl Streep of my first-grade class, but I didn’t get the part. I was the little black girl. I got the supporting role. My friend Maureen, she got the lead part, and she looked nothing like me," says Johnson.
"At that moment, I learned what too many little girls learn — that how we look and what we can do is the most important factor in our success. That girls like me should feel lucky to get the supporting role. This is why Spotlight: Girls exists. We need every girl to take center stage in her life so she becomes the leader we’ve all been looking for."
When asked by a judge how she gauges the success of her Go Girls! Camp, Johnson replied, "First of all, our camps are just two weeks long and we have found that after just two weeks, 56 percent of parents say that their girls have great confidence after just two weeks and so we hope that girls come back again for another two weeks, and so on. Some of our girls have been with us for a long time," she says.
"The girls who were in the very first Go Girls! camp are graduating high school and the success story of one really stands out. She’s about to go to college for engineering and robotics. At the same time, she’s a singer, songwriter, actor and identifies as genderqueer. She’s so confident in herself in all parts of her life and to me, that’s the kind of success story we’re looking for — girls who are like, ‘Come at me world!’"
Lynn Johnson and the Go Girls! camp are creating a foundation for young women to feel empowered, valued and strong. And honestly, I don't think there is anything the world needs more of right now than strong, confident young women.