We started the day with community building, spending time to get to know one another and to create an atmosphere of fun! As our Ithaca program was focused on the sport of soccer, we then broke up into small groups to work on skills stations. We were fortunate to have Cornell Hall of Famer, John McKeown, as our guest coach to help girls improve their current skills and to give moms a crash course in the sport. Some moms and daughters had played before, and for others it was their first time. Girls were able to show their moms and special friends what they already knew and moms were able to surprise their daughters with some newfound skills!
To put those skills to use, we then had a mother-daughter game. Moms, daughters, and special friends worked together as teammates, making great plays and cheering for each other. We even had strategy sessions and a pep talk at half time! Although the game ended in a tie, it was fun for all.
Following our game, moms and daughters broke up into workshops. Led by the Director of the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences, Beta Mannix, the girls’ workshop focused on images in the media and gossiping. During the workshop, the girls simulated a real-life situation and then had a discussion about their choices. At the same time, moms and special friends spent time during their workshop exploring their adolescence and shared stories about raising adolescent girls. Both workshops definitely got people thinking.
After the workshops Pat Thonney, Cornell Nutrition Professor and founder of Cooking up Fun provided us with lunch and a lesson in nutrition. We were all amazed by the wonderful dishes and recipes we could make together at home. Who knew you could easily make your own granola bar?
While our stomachs were still full, but slowly digesting, we then broke up into groups and headed over to the ropes course at Cornell’s Hoffman Challenge Course. Activities were specifically chosen with moms and daughters in mind, giving them the opportunity to work together to solve problems, to meet challenges, and to push themselves to the next level. Many moms and daughters exceeded their own expectations, reaching higher goals than they could have imagined.
We ended our day with moms and daughters making beads bracelets for each other, so that each would have a memento to remember their day together. At the end of the day each mom, daughter, and special friend shared something that they learned about each other. A common and surprised remark from the girls was, “Mom, I learned that you are a pretty good soccer player!” We hope that moms and daughters will continue to surprise each other in all of our programs ahead. We are grateful to this first group of amazing girls and women for showing us that the concept of bringing moms and daughters together is a worthwhile, memorable, heartwarming, and fun experience!