Like a wild rose, Devyn Perryman and April Newman want girls in their new club to see they are valued just as they are, wherever they are, thorns and all.
The Squamish women have launched the Wild Rose Club for local girls, and those who identify as female, aged 11 to 13.
"We wanted something that really showed beyond this idea that young girls — or those who identify as female — are delicate. There's a lot more to it. A wild rose grows where it wants, when it wants. There are some thorns. Those things all sort of encompass this age group, and that is what we want. Show up as you are," said Perryman, co-founder of the club, which has its first gathering Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Gather round. It's story time 📖🤓 When we were deciding exactly what to call this club we wanted something to depict adventure and growth, something to capture the duality of the free spirit and complicated bits of growing up. When we tossed around the "Wild Rose Club" there was something compelling and different about it. In Greek Mythology the wild rose not only symbolizes beauty but also the keeper of secrets. We want this Club to be a place for girls to feel that they don't have to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves, but also that this is a place of trust and those "secrets" they choose to share in the Club stay in the Club. It's important to us to create a safe place for girls (and those who identify as female) to share, ask questions and express themselves - free of judgement or shame. And that is how the Wild Rose Club was born. Please send us a direct message for program details and registration💓 ~April & Devyn ✌️ _ _ _ _ _ #squamish amish #squamishbc #wildroses #squamishmom #squamishmoms #squamishliving #youngwildfree #youngwildandfree #growingup #allgrownup #staywild #wildchild #wildatheart
The club is focused on promoting a healthy and active lifestyle as well as holding space for open conversations for girls, something both women wish they had access to when they were younger.
"Creating a safe space for girls to come and interact — and doing it safely, following COVID protocols as well — and where they can come and experience new things," said Newman.
Some activities will include time at Alice Lake Provincial Park, trying e-bikes, and a visit to Second Chance Cheekye Ranch, among others.
The focus will be on movement and trying new things, and not the extreme hikes or sports that are common to the corridor but aren't always inclusive.
Trust will be built where the girls can feel comfortable talking about anything and asking questions.
Both women acknowledge they aren't trained professional counsellors but come to the group with lived experiences and will turn to other professionals if topics veer away from their expertise.
"We have a plan in place that if there is a sensitive topic that is out of our wheelhouse... we would try to find someone that we can reach out to that can help us guide that conversation," Newman said.
The desire for the club grew out of both women thinking about what they lacked as tweens.
Newman says she was described as a "Tom Boy" as a young girl. She was athletic and tried everything — including catching snakes — but she lacked confidence, due in part to a hearing impairment that went undiagnosed until Grade 7.
"I dealt with a lot of insecurities," she said. "I thought I wasn't smart. I didn't understand the material. The teachers thought I wasn't listening on purpose."
She wants to create a space that she could have used where participants are accepted and can build self-esteem, she said.
Perryman said when she was a tween, she was afraid to try new things.
"I feel like I missed out on a lot for fear of failing or looking foolish," she said. "Whether it was just jumping off the dock, or water skiing, I didn't give it my best, or I didn't try at all. And I feel like that was a barrier for me. I regret that. I wish I had done more — tried more."
It is the courage to try she has in spades today that she hopes to pass on to the younger generation.
To register for the Wild Rose Club, go here.