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  • Articles, Fun, GirlSpring.com, Interview, Local, Social

    Boy Scouts…for Girls!

    First founded in 1910, around 110 million Americans have at some point participated in Boy Scouts of America (BSA) programs. For the first time in the US, in February 2019, BSA has now allowed girl troops to form under them, permitting them to participate in BSA events and earn the Eagle Scout title. However, this has brought some controversy.

    Some people argue that Boy Scouts should only be for boys as it teaches them important life essentials. Additionally, if girls want to grow and learn to be independent, they can join Girl Scouts which helps them grow as women, in almost the same way. On the other hand, some people argue that girls should be able to have the same strenuous and demanding opportunities as boys. They should also be able to earn the well-known title of being an Eagle Scout.

    Boy Scouts for Girls in Alabama

    Currently, in Alabama, there are three different girls BSA troops. I participate in one such group in the Vulcan District, Troop 193. We have three adult leaders: Wanda Ellenberger (scoutmaster), Craig Brown, and Sophie Ventura. The girls in the troops are Madison Brown (aged 16, Tenderfoot), Lea Brown (aged 12, Tenderfoot), Tabitha (aged 13, Tenderfoot), Maddy Wenter (aged 11, Scout), Sammy (aged 11, First Class), and Uzma Issa (age 16, Tenderfoot). Though the troop started in May, we have already participated in many events such as the Advance-o-Rama, Tree Sales, and multiple campouts, hikes, community service, and other day trips.

    Small Troup…Big Potential

    Because the troop is small and only has one patrol, it is able to move fast-paced helping the older girls knock down requirements in order to get the Eagle Scout before turning 18. Since girls joined so late, there is an extension rule where if someone was 16 before June 1st, she gets two extra years to earn the Eagle Scout. By only having six girls and three adult leaders, our troop is small, allowing the girls to make quick, strong bonds with each other by participating in all the events together. I asked some of the troop’s members what they felt about the troop.

    When asked what she learned from her scouts experience so far, Madison replied, “Since joining the troop I have learned way more than school could have ever taught me. I have learned to tie 6 different types of knots, I crawled for 2 miles around a cave, hiked multiple hikes, camped, and served 2 leadership positions. I have learned how to talk to different people and talk to groups of 10 or so people.” Tabitha also explained what she learned: “I’ve learned how to tie cool knots, how to set up a campsite, and how to treat minor injuries.”

    Being in the troop for just a few months, they were also asked what their favorite parts of being in Scouts. Both Madison and Tabitha agreed that the bonds they created with people were unlike the ones made in other places. Finally, none of this would be possible without our lovely scoutmaster, Ms. Ellenberger. She explained that “I would have loved to have been a Boy Scout growing up. With the program opening to girls this year, I knew that I would HAVE to be involved. I’m thrilled to be able to involve girls in the same amazing program of personal growth, Citizenship, and faith that has been available to boys for the last 110 years.” Overall, we have a small but adventurous group with big potential. I know that many of us are excited to see where this troop will go and what it will achieve. 

  • Bullying, GirlSpring.com, Health, Mental Health, Social, Technology

    Dealing with hurtful instagram comments

    online bullying

    First of all, knowing your worth and being confident in who you are as a person can help you combat the things that people comment on your posts. Being strong in who you are as a person is the first tool to beating those hateful comments. You may want to disable comments or delete your instagram for a while so that you can recharge and help your mind heal from instagram trolls. Sometimes a break can help you focus on you and do things that make you happy. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and dispose of negative things people comment or say about you. They are wrong.

    Hurt people hurt people

    Whatever mean comments people write behind the comfort of their phone screen is usually out of a place of insecurity and self-doubt. People that have the audacity to spread their mean opinions are usually hurting inside and are broken.

    Don’t fuel the fire

    I know the first thing that you want to do is comment back but don’t. Be the bigger person because the reason they comment those things is to receive a reaction out of you and to spark drama which could ultimately reflect your character if you engage in it. So ignore it because if you do then they don’t even know if you saw it.

    Ignore the comments

    Don’t even take one look at them. I challenge you to not even look at who likes your photos or who comments and see how your perspective on social media changes. Social media has become a competition for the best photos, the best life, and the most likes. Strip the competition away and have fun. Take photos of you laughing or eating an ice cream cone.

    Know your worth

    Realize that the things people say are meant to tear you down, but know that the things they say are lies. One person does not define who you are as a person and you should not let them have that power over your mind. Speak truth over who you are.

    Think about your happiness

    Post pictures because you want to share them with the world and because those pictures make you happy. Never approach social media for the likes or attention or for whatever you are lacking because it will leave you empty and always coming back for more.

    Behind those phone screens, we are all people with real emotions and real feelings. Never be afraid to show the world who you really are. People value that more than anything.

    Social media has changed the way we connect with people, but it can also make us feel lonely and less than. Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter all have so many pros but the one thing that rings true for all of them is that there can be awful and mean things said. Here are tips on what to do if you’re faced with them

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Lifestyle, School, Social

    How to Find Your People

    three friends laughing together

    Its the end of summer… and we all know what that means. Goodbye summer nights and tan-lines, hello homework and teachers! The start of a new school year can be overwhelming. There’s the slight excitement of seeing all the people you didn’t see over the summer, buying new shiny school supplies, but there’s always some bit of anxiety about the unknown. A lot can happen in the summer, and returning back to school can come with a little stress. 

    The excitement and nervousness that comes with the school year can bring new people into your life. While this can be scary, accept it! School is always easier when you have the people that make you comfortable by your side. It’s not always easy to find your people, and that’s okay. Some of the best friendships in will come later in life, but for now, its time to make the most of the year! Follow these simple tips to keep an eye out for your people.

    1. Don’t be afraid of the small talk.

    It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. Get all the quick facts out of the way, in order to talk about things that will give you a good indication if you are similar or not! Don’t let the anxiety of small talk prevent you from putting yourself out there.

    2. Find common interests.

    Find out what they like to do after school, how do they spend their free time? You never know who might be super into the same things as you! Exchange sports, hobbies, activities, and see what they like to do. Who knows, you might get recruited for an awesome new sports team or club!

    3. “Is that seat taken?”

    Take advantage of an empty seat! If you see someone sitting alone or with an empty seat next to them, push yourself outside that comfort zone and take a seat. This can be a great way to show someone you notice them and are interested in striking up a conversation! It’s also a great ice breaker to get the dialogue flowing.

    4. Be open-minded.

    Just because someone might not wear the same colors or styles as you, don’t write that person off as someone you wouldn’t like. As I said, you never know who you’re gonna meet. It can be refreshing to find a friend in an uncommon place!

    5. Meet someone new in town.

    There are always families moving in and out of town. If you notice someone you haven’t seen around town, or in school in years past, say hi! Ask them where they’re from and how they like it here. The simple gesture can go a long way for both of you!

  • GirlSpring.com, Poem, Poems, Relationships, Social

    Walking Down The Street

    walking down the street

    Walking down the street

    Just trying to get to the coffee shop,

    Passing by a group of men who start whistling,

    Walking a little faster

    Trying to get away from their rude comments,

    Seeking comfort from a phone call to a friend,

    “Should I have worn something different?”

    Walking through the parking lot

    Just going to buy groceries,

    Boys hanging out windows yelling suggestive remarks,

    Walking into the store

    Texting a friend about the crude boys,

    Asking how to make the situation better,

    “I shouldn’t have worn my shorts,”

    Standing at a party

    Just trying to have a good time,

    A boy whispering vulgar things in your ear,

    Walking away from the intrusive teenager

    Trying to escape from his grasp,

    Looking for a friend to talk to and offer their comfort,

    “I should have worn a longer shirt.”

    Unfortunately, most girls will get catcalled in their lives, but we don’t have to let it drag us down! If you get catcalled or have ever gotten catcalled, here is some advice on how to react.

  • Articles, Bullying, Confidence, Environment, GirlSpring.com, Interview, Lifestyle, Local, Mental Health, Relationships, School, Sexual Health, Social, Stress, Tough Questions, Writing

    Deciding To Come Out

    coming out

    ( Author’s Note: This website is for women empowerment. Men and Women can be feminist, therefore there are some males in this article.
    bri xx )

    Coming Out

    Coming out and discovering your sexuality is a really touchy subject and not everyone is comfortable with talking about their experiences. Although, it is a sensitive subject I know people (especially those who aren’t out yet) like to hear other LGBTQ+ coming out stories. Everyone’s story, of course, will be different! Some were accepted while others maybe weren’t. I had an okay experience which made me very curious about what other LGBTQ+ peoples’ experiences were. This led me to interview a few people with different cultural backgrounds to see how their experience went. I asked them all the same four questions.

    Here are their responses:

    Hayden Robinson
    Current Age: N/A
    Age You Came Out: 15
    Gender: Male
    Sexuality: Gay

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    During middle school, it felt kind of awkward walking through the underwear aisles. He started to realize when he had a crush on rapper Flo Rida.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It all was a bit of a process, the first person he told was already a part of the LGBTQ+ community. He told them over Instagram demos, but then told them to delete their conversation. Then in November, he told his sister. The next month, he told his mom, and the month after that, his father. Soon, he told his stepmother on Valentine’s Day. Eventually, he told his close friends, but he still wasn’t out to everyone which affected his mental health. So, one Friday afternoon, he made a Snapchat story saying he was gay.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Most of them knew already. Sister thought it was awesome that they could talk about boys together. Mom took it hard and was scared. Dad was kind of quiet and didn’t ask many questions besides how long did he know he was a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Stepmom didn’t think it was a big deal.
    Friends were excited and pretty much already knew it.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    He is very happy about it! He would not be where he is today if he hadn’t come out. His family and friends are also still very supportive.

    Linus
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out: 14
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Queer / Doesn’t really like labels though.

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    Younger, people would say a lot of homophobic things and she would take up for the LGBTQ+ community, not really realizing she was just standing up for herself.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It wasn’t really formal, she just kind of talked about a crush who was apart of the LGBTQ+ community.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Overall, friends acted normally while one “friend” tried to fully push her out of the closet which resulted in her cutting them off.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    She’s only out to friends, but is happy about making that decision. She plans on coming out to family when ready.

    Carter

    Current Age: 15 turning 16
    Age You Came Out At: 12
    Gender: Transgender Male
    Sexuality: Bisexual

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    The first time was when he was in a hospital and met people a part of that community. During that time, he was given a chest binder and a packer and decided to try it.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    He came out as bisexual when he was twelve around thanksgiving time. He came out as transgender at fourteen.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Friends weren’t accepting at all and didn’t really understand it.
    Mom was giving him the talk when he came out as bisexual and was okay with it. Dad didn’t really care, but questioned if he was really sure he was bisexual. When coming out as transgender, his mom was confused and not accepting. She thought he was too young to make that decision. Four years later, Mom has accepted it but doesn’t want him to make rash decisions.
    Parents told teachers to call him a different name but didn’t tell them that he is transgender.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes and No, he’s still battling with a couple of different things. Wishes he hadn’t told friends, but glad he came out to his family otherwise he would still be confused about things.

    Jamiah
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out At: 15
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Lesbian

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community

    In seventh grade. The first year at a new school and decided that she wasn’t attracted to guys anymore.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    Made the decision to come out because she didn’t want to hide anymore and just wanted to be honest with herself.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Mom and Brothers already knew and did not care nor treat her differently. Dad doesn’t know and is not gonna tell him because she feels he just won’t understand. Friends were really happy and weren’t really shocked.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes, Very Happy. She was just tired of hiding it and finally happy she can be open about her relationships.

    Talking with these individuals opened my eyes a lot.

    You always hear stories about people’s coming out experiences. Some are like a happy fairy tale ending. Some are not so happy and end with people taking their own lives. Not everyone is gonna be accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but every individual has a right to express themselves and not be treated differently or less than anyone else in this world. Coming out is not the easiest to do so wait until you’re ready and are comfortable with sharing it to friends, family or anyone. Don’t let anyone force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you are not comfortable with coming out, it’s perfectly fine, no pressure, but know that, even if it doesn’t feel like it, there are many people out there who love and support you.

    If you do come out and you start to experience verbal, physical, emotional abuse or any form of bullying, tell someone. Don’t let other people’s stupidity make you feel bad about being yourself. Hopefully, reading other people’s stories helped or educated you a little bit on how different everyone’s reactions and how it changed or didn’t change their lives.

    much love,
    bri xx

    Everyone deserves to feel comfortable being themself, gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever! Check out some tips on being comfortable in your own skin.

    If you are thinking about coming out but don’t know how to, or have more questions than you can count, look at the Human Right’s Campaign’s Coming Out Resource Guide.

  • Environment, Lifestyle, Local, Misc, Social, Tips

    Pride Month Safety

    Pride Month

    Some Tips on How to Stay Safe During Pride Events.

    As many of you may know PRIDE month is right around the corner. For those who don’t know what pride month is here’s a definition: The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world. ( Wikipedia ) But in my words basically a celebration for the LGBTQ+ community!

    If you are planning on attending any PRIDE events, parades, parties, etc. Here are some safety tips you could use just in case.

    1. Stay with a friend or a group of friends: Often, when attacks have occurred the victim are usually alone leaving a party, at a party by themselves, or simply just walking home by themselves. If happen to find yourself alone stay as open in the public as you can and always check your surroundings. (even if you are just going to a bathroom)

    2. Drinking: If you’re an ADULT please drink responsibly!! And if you have had too much to drink please do NOT drive, have a friend take you home. ( I don’t advise taking an uber or lyft in that state of mind because you do not know the driver.)

    3. Have protection: I do not recommend any type of weapons on any occasion but if you are considering getting one: mace, taser, pepper spray, etc. Anything to protect yourself if an attacker approached you.

    4. Clubs: If you are planning on attending any type of club or public function check if there is security and if weapons are or aren’t allowed in the building. Also, be aware of emergency exits!!

    5. Last but not least… HAVE FUN!!!!: Pride Month is a month of celebration for being who you are! If you are looking for events to attend you can ask a friend you trust or look up events in your area. If you plan to attend one, BRING A FRIEND OR FRIENDS.

    If you are a teen in the Birmingham area, MCAC (Magic City Acceptance Center, http://www.magiccityacceptancecenter.org) has many great events coming up.

    If you are in the LGBTQ+ community and you are not out yet, I understand. Coming out isn’t easy, wait for when it’s perfect for you!!

    Happy Pride Month my loves, bri xx

  • Articles, Fashion, Social, This and That

    Cosplay: Teenagers Dress Up

    Cosplay: Teenagers Dress Up

    by Lily Jacks

    Be it for Halloween, costume parties, or just for fun, many people have taken great joy in childhood dress up. I can remember in my early youth thinking that when I dressed up, I could somehow magically become that character. I would get so into my character that sometimes I would even forget that I was not, in fact, Cinderella or Hermione Granger. Sometimes, I even wore my costumes to school. (For my kindergarten school picture I wore a tiger costume!) This hobby is one that most people grow out of as time moves forward.

    However, I did not want to grow out of dress-up. In sixth grade I heard about cosplay through the internet. Of course I had little to no idea at the time what cosplay was, but I knew that it connected to my childhood hobby. I did a little research and discovered that cosplay is a rather popular activity among teens and young adults. What makes it different from dressing up as a child is the quality and time put into the costumes and the interaction of cosplayers within their community online and at the conventions.

    By seventh grade my sister made a friend who was an active member of the cosplay community. We formed our own cosplay group focusing on Japanese anime characters. Through this group, we became more experienced and finally learned how to improve our cosplays. We went that year to Kami-Con, a local anime and cosplay convention. My sister and I had previously been to one cosplay convention, albeit we didn’t take it as seriously. That year, the amount of time and effort we spent preparing and perfecting our cosplay paled in comparison to the year before. The convention itself was very warm and open. We got to meet a lot of people who shared our common interests and got to dig deeper into this new community. We watched a cosplay contest, in which I learned that a lot of the best cosplayers make their own costumes.

    Last year was my third year to attend Kami-Con. I cosplayed Flying Mint Bunny, a character from an anime called Hetalia. I had already bought a dress and wig that I could wear for the costume, but I did not have some of the essential accessories (bunny ears and wings). I had never made any of my own cosplay before, but decided that I would make these accessories. The ears were felt and stuffing sewn onto a headband, and I made the wings from cardboard and felt. It is still one of my favorite cosplays, in part because of my involvement in the creation of it!

    I enjoy being an active member of the cosplay community with my sister. I am currently taking sewing lessons and finding new ways to become more involved with the making and perfection of my costumes. I love interacting with the cosplay community online and look forward to the conventions! These fantastical experiences both bring me back to the simple pleasures of childhood as well as spring me forward into a community of imaginative and creative young adults.