RED Hearts: High Rocks For Girls

RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today Today's RED Heartspost is from Meike Schleiff, 22, reporting from Renick, WV, who writes about a mentoring program that changed her life:

There are so many things a girl has to find in the world these days -- friends, love, peace with parents, a bearable job, her keys, her cellphone, her happiness, her look, her way. So finding a mentor might not be on the top of your list for 2010. But did you know that having a mentor or mentoring program can help you reach dreams like these: saving babies in a NICU ward, tracking wolves, farming organically, starting a local restaurant, studying in China, being a great mom someday?

These incredible feats are all being done by alumni of High Rocks for Girls, the leadership program in West Virginia where I found my mentors -- and my way. I always thought of myself as pretty “normal” as a teenager, whatever that means. No hot pink hair with black accents, no tattoos, no Goth attire. Nothing extreme. I never even painted my fingernails until my first High Rocks camp.

The amazing thing about places like High Rocks is that you'll find girls from every table in the school cafeteria there. And, when we got together to do wild things, like hiking out into the woods with outdoor survival kits for an overnight adventure or organizing a Halloween party for needy children in our area, we found out that we were more alike than we believed possible. We're all just trying to figure out what it means to be ourselves.

High Rocks has been helping teenage girls do this for 14 years. Check out how you can be involved there, or in a similar nationwide programs in your area, such as Best Friends, Girl Scouts of America, or Girls Inc. Or discover a smaller girls' club near you. What you'll find, most of all, is that growing up is a little easier when you don't have to do it alone.

RED Hearts guest poster Meike Schlieff is an author of RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today, which was recently published in paperback.