For One 14-Year-Old, the Design on Our New Girls T-Shirts Becomes a Mantra for WinningHeidi’s Note: I met our guest blogger, Stevie, by telephone when she interviewed me for a community service project for school. Stevie has been a student at the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools, GALS, Colorado’s first and currently only all-girl charter school.
I wasn’t prepared for how tough some of Stevie’s questions were, including, “Do you see yourself as an outstanding woman?” and “How are you different from other leaders?” (See “Answers,” bottom of page.)
The school project culminated into a day-long event planned and executed by leaders in the 8th grade. Congresswoman Diana DeGette was the keynote speaker. Yes, the girls formed a great team, but Stevie seemed to be everywhere that day — connecting with guests, helping with logistics, leading the leaders, exemplifying girl empowerment.
Following is Stevie’s account of keeping her eye on the ball during a summer softball match. And while the truth behind the phrase, “keep your eye on the ball,” has lost its strength from overuse in the American idiom, Stevie’s story brings home the reality of what happens when a girl gets focused.
One more note: Stevie’s experience also illustrates why the dragonfly became the heart of our new icon at Pretty Brainy. Among the things it symbolizes: being aware in the present and opening one’s eyes, inspired by the fact of its 360-degree vision.
I first met Heidi at a conference that my leadership group did at school that featured successful women in business. It was amazing to meet her and learn all about her company, Pretty Brainy, and what it does for girl empowerment and to empower women. After the conference she gave me a blue girls T-shirt with black lettering on the back that says, “Strength beyond any number,” with a graphic of a dragonfly.
In early June of this year I joined the softball team from the youth group at my church. I went to my 1st practice where I discovered something about my softball skills . . . I STINK!!!!
I missed every catch and I couldn’t make ANY contact with the bat and ball, let alone get a hit.
I got so discouraged I was thinking I didn’t want to go anymore, but somewhere deep inside me something was tugging at me, urging me to keep playing. So I resolved to at least show up for the next practice and if I still stunk, I would reconsider my softball career.
So I went to the next practice, and things started out the same way. The first thing we were working on was catching pop flies and I missed EVERY SINGLE ONE!!
But then, just as I was about to quit and go hide out, I saw a dragonfly. It made me think of Heidi’s shirt and I whispered to myself, “Strength beyond any number,” as Ben, my coach, threw the ball. I ran up, circled under the pop fly and — to my amazement and probably everybody else’s — I CAUGHT IT!!! My hooting and hollering celebration included a small “thank you” to Heidi and the dragonflies.
Next up was batting practice and I wanted to run and hide again.
But I didn’t. I vowed to stay and at least try to learn. I was still really hesitant when it became my turn to bat, but I decided to tough it out.
After what seemed like 1,000 swings and misses, I saw another dragonfly and I whispered again, “Strength beyond any number.” The next pitch came and I made contact! Sadly it went to foul territory. But I still made contact!!!!
THANK YOU, HEIDI AND YOUR INSPIRING DRAGONFLIES! YOU ARE AMAZING!!!
I am getting stronger beyond any number!! And my teammates thank you, too!
Favorite Quote: “Preach the Gospel at all times, use words when necessary.” — Saint Francis of Assisi (in honor of my church)
How I Like to Spend My Time: I love to read or play with my dog or go to the mall.
Notable Experience: Volunteering at the Schlessman YMCA, I saw many kids grow up into crazy kids!!
Aspirations: I really aspire to be vet and to create a home for homeless animals.
(Heidi’s Answers to Stevie’s Questions: (a) No. I do not see myself as an outstanding woman. But I am working toward outstanding results. (b) How am I different as a leader? I have never followed anyone who has not earned the right to lead.)