Shine On! was founded by SUNY Plattsburgh professor, Colleen Lemza, after witnessing countless women battle eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. Statistics indicate that 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities such as eating disorders, cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking or worse when feeling badly about themselves. The main goal of Shine On! is to build resiliency and self-esteem in young girls before they face the social pressures of middle school and beyond, in order to prevent these negative behaviors. We know we can’t eliminate bullying but we can increase girls’ resiliency so they’re less vulnerable and have better coping skills. We aim to create up standers, rather than bystanders.
Each year Lemza and a group female SUNY Plattsburgh students work to bring Shine On! to life. The students involved with Shine On! are what makes this conference unique. The students can remember what it was like to face the social pressures that come with growing up, so they are deeply passionate.
In 2011, the inaugural Shine-On! conference was held on the Clinton Community College campus with close to 90 4th and 5th grade girls. Approximately 30 SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College female student leaders acted as mentors for the day-long workshop which was held in conjunction with the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. The budget only had funding for 75 girls, but thanks to additional support from the Noon Rotary Club and the SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association, we were able to accommodate the remainder of the girls on a waiting list.
The 2013 conference was held as an overnight event in Memorial Hall on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus with 185 young girls and 50 college-aged mentors. We received a $10,000 grant from the AVEENO: Be An Active Natural Challenge and had strong commitment from Blue Shield of Northeastern NY, along with additional financial support from the Price Chopper Golub Foundation and Subway (Rt. 3, Cornelia Street, US Ave and Champlain Centers).
Now in its fourth year, Shine On! has continued to be an overnight event with 200 girls and 50 SUNY Plattsburgh women mentors. In addition, there is a Raising Resilient Girls workshop designed for adults to learn tips on how to raise a strong, resilient daughter. This workshop, held in Hudson Hall, features three sessions and runs concurrently to the girls’ conference.
The conference for this year is offering 10 workshops:
Communication Tools and Tips
Ever been made fun of and didn’t have the words to stand up for yourself? This interactive workshop gives you the skills and talking points to stand up for yourself and others in a non-confrontational way. Girls and their mentors will discuss and role-play different scenarios that many of you face every day. Issues such as bullying, social cliques and peer pressure are just some of the issues this workshop will address. Learn to be an Up-stander, not a bystander!
How often do you see girls on TV, in movies or commercials that are known more for their looks or bodies, than their talents? Why are women in bikinis used in advertisements to sell trucks? This workshop will help you better understand the media, marketing and how society sets unrealistic expectations for females.
This workshop helps you understand how your language may be hurtful. We’ll address some harmful words and the unintentional affects they can have on peers.
Do you sometimes find that fast food is the only answer at the end of a hectic day? Bad day at school have you reaching for chocolate? This workshop aims to educate about healthier food choices and to better understand the impact of your food choices. Walk away with healthy ideas that taste great!
Does flipping through the pages of a magazine leave you feeling lousy about yourself? These photo-shopped images can leave girls feeling insecure and unsure about themselves. This workshop will show girls that the pictures in magazines aren’t real and they intend for you to buy products rather than feel beautiful in your own skin.
A young girl’s mind is a beautiful thing. With all the pressures you face today, there must be time to focus on you. Learn some yoga stretches to connect mind and body for a less stressful lifestyle.
All girls need some time to just have fun. With various educational workshops, the pool hour provides time to have fun with your new friends.
Having confidence in yourself can make all the difference in how you approach school, your friends, trying new things…everything! We’ve built a super-fun confidence building workshop using a giant inflatable rock climbing wall and obstacle course. Learn how conquering your fears can lead to success!
Have you ever felt alone and unsafe? All of us can get nervous, scared and feel helpless sometimes. This workshop will give you information and tips to be safe.
Why does teasing bother some girls more than others? How come some girls feel pressured to belong to the popular crowd, but other girls feel comfortable marching to the beat of their own drum. Grit also known, as resiliency is the ability to persevere when faced with adversity. This workshop will teach you several different character traits that will help you stand tall and lead you to success later in life.