Ten-year-old Sarah Abma of Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, found her voice this summer, sharing with binational magazine Discovery Girls what it’s like to live with and overcome anxiety. “If I was a discovery girl I could share my story with other girls that are going through the same thing,” Sarah wrote as part of her application to the magazine’s Discovery Girls Leadership Summit. She was one of 36 readers from across Canada and the U.S. to be selected to meet in Northern California for the three-day summit in August.
Aged 8 to 12, the girls participated in workshops and discussions about the obstacles and pressures girls face. They also prepared articles for future issues of the magazine. “The goal of the summit, and of Discovery Girls in general, is to build confidence and resilience in young girls,” said magazine founder Catherine Lee, who began the venture in 2000 when she couldn’t find age-appropriate reading material for her own 8-year-old daughter.
For Sarah, encountering girls like herself was a welcome surprise. “It’s just nice to know a bunch of girls my age that are going through the same things that I am because I don’t know a lot of girls like that,” she said.
Sarah started at a new school in September. She said the experience of the summit has given her more confidence for facing new situations. “I think I’m very blessed to have this opportunity,” Sarah said of being selected from the more than 8,000 applicants. “I didn’t think I would make it, but I did, and I hope that other people will take chances just like I did.”
Sarah will write about her trip, which she shared with her dad, Steve Abma, in a travel journal for the magazine.