One non-profit is taking the phrase ‘Girl Power’ to a whole new level

Published: Apr. 2, 2023 at 9:28 AM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Igniting curiosity, promoting critical thinking, building coalitions, and challenging the status quo.

The Hardy Girls is a Maine-based organization supporting and empowering girls and nonbinary youth.

Hardy Girls Executive Director, Adrienne Carmack explains, “Hardy Girls refers to our sort of theory of working with young people, which we approach as building ‘hardiness zone.’ If you’re in the agricultural world, you might be familiar with the term ‘hardiness zone,’ so it’s a climate in which a plant can thrive and can grow and interact. And so, we talked about building hardiness zones for young people where they’re able to really thrive.”

Since 2000, the organization has been creating education programs and hosting conferences covering various topics.

The conference, formerly known as “Girls Rock,” is now the “Be You Boldy” conference and will have April sessions in Ellsworth, Waterville, and Portland.

“We see the need for girls to really have access to spaces where they’re taken really seriously, where they’re able to talk openly about the things that are most important to them. We actually operate six programs year-round and are both in and out of schools offering these sorts of programs. But the conferences are really our big event each year. So, this year we have workshops ranging from, you know, building healthy relationship with your body and body image to positive self-talk supporting your LGBTQ peers, how to build healthy friendships. We also have one on sustainable fashion and other really cool topics,” added Carmack.

One of the programs is the Feminist Action Board, or FAB.

Board members are 9th through 12th grade self-identified girls and nonbinary youth engaging in leadership and educational opportunities with Hardy Girls.

Carmack says this program shows youth they can be confident and make a difference, and in turn, that mentality can be passed to younger groups who see that example, leading to future generations of leaders.

“That is exactly what happens, Kaddie. It is so amazing, every time we hear those stories! Our high school programs, so I mentioned they’re called the Feminist Action Board, we call them FAB, and we have about 25 high schoolers from seven counties across the state who have committed to this year long program. And they’ve been working all year to build these workshops. And we hear that again, and again, kind of a combination of these young people saying like, ‘Oh my gosh, if these people who are only a few years older than me have the competence and ability to do this sort of program like maybe I can too.’ And then, we see a lot of those young people then joining our high school program in the future because they want to be like those people, so we see the important sort of mentorship and intergenerational approach to this work, which is one of my favorite parts,” said Carmack.

The upcoming ‘Be Boldly You” conferences will be held the second week in April, and registration will end soon.For more information on the conferences or the organization, you can go to