GIRL REPORT: SUMMER 2018

THE PERFECT TEN NEWSLETTER

is back by popular demand.

Holy Moly! There is so much to share!

GAKKO
It means “school” in Japanese. One June afternoon, Zoe Lockard of Gakko came to Hudson to tell us about the ambitious students and teachers from around the world who were coming together for summer camps designed to prompt young people to “reimagine themselves, their talent, and their responsibility to one another.” The Sempai, the young professionals and college students who lead each camp, design and facilitate a unique learning experience for the Kohai, who are international high schoolers who embrace a diverse community of friends and mentors. One thing led to another and before we knew it, the whole team of Sempai were leading a lively afternoon at the clubhouse. Together we created poetry, debated about sandwiches, saw and learned magic from an actual magician (founder Kenta Koga), and shared laughter and Japanese candies. After this whirlwind of an afternoon, Gakko so generously offered some scholarships for Perfect Ten girls to participate in the full Gakko camp experience! Their site for this year’s camp was the Darrow School in the Berkshires. Monalissa Carius, Legacy Rivera, and Quiana Brown packed their bags for three weeks away into the unknown. What went down? Well you’ll have to ask the girls.... We heard that no two days were alike. The Sempai reported back that the girls became leaders of the group of about 35 global citizens from all over the world. These students are destined to become world leaders, and we are proud to have our girls among them. 

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SHE’S GOT SOMETHING TO SAY
Monalissa on her experience at GAKKO:


“People from around the world became my family. I made friends from Morocco, Germany, Georgia, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, Afghanistan, Turkey, Persia, Poland. States in the U.S such as California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, New York etc. There is no other time or place that I would meet such an incredible and diverse group of friends.”

“I learned a lot about myself during my time away from home… that I am an amazing dancer. Also, I realized that I am an incredible leader and friend, and that I am capable of anything I put my mind to.”

“Because of Gakko... I know now that this world is filled with kind, diverse, and intelligent people. When you’re upset and have problems and you think you’re alone, you are really not... I have more faith in humanity because of this- I know that amazing people exist everywhere… that you just have to embrace them.”


YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHERS
Our second annual Young Photographer’s workshop with photographer Saskia Kahn was another kind of transformation. This year the theme was “The Land and Ourselves: Exploring our interaction with nature through photography”. Perfect Ten girls consider themselves to be “city kids”. Although we are surrounded by so much natural beauty, girls admitted that they do not spend time out in nature nor do they feel connected to the land around them. This year  we encouraged these city girls to get up close and personal with nature. On Day One we went out to Whistle Down Farm where we made silhouettes of nature and each other, with and without the landscape, finding the punctum. On Day Two girls chose from a selection of vintage postcards to use as inspiration for creating postcards of their own. Girls partnered up, using each other as models and the surrounding beauty and landscape of the Hudson Riverfront to create a variety of images. After images were chosen for postcards, girls made 4x6 prints and concocted natural dyes out of black tea and beets to dye their shots, giving them an antiquated feel, and then turned them into postcards, writing powerful messages to their chosen recipients. Day Three was about presentation. Girls wrote artist statements and created a mini show of work from the week, and received feedback and insight from one another. On the last day, girls took some of the vegetables and foliage that they had collected from the first day on the farm and set up a studio right in the clubhouse to take still-life shots of the now-rotting souvenirs, which made for some provocative images and got us thinking about the essence of all that is natural. Their work will be featured at the Half King Gallery in Soho this month! We will be taking a trip to New York City August 14-16 to attend the opening.


CAMP FOWLER FOREVER
A major SHOUT OUT to everyone who attended our Cookout for Camp event this year at Steve and Whitney’s magical garden! In addition to the splendid food- we felt the love.  We were able to raise enough money to get to Camp Fowler with the Lower East Side Girls Club again this year!
We have traditionally taken the week before camp as boot camp to prepare… this year we called it BOOSTcamp, because we give our bodies and attitudes a boost before we head out to the Adirondacks for camp. We did our favorite day hikes and lake swimming, but the added boost was a day with Kylah Campeta and Rachael Kelly of LYF Fitness for a total mind/body workout! They so generously set up a whole course for us down by the riverfront that included yoga, strength and balance training, weight training, and an obstacle course. It was not only fun (and really hard work!), but we also learned so many new moves that we can practice on our own when our bodies simply need a boost. And then we were off to Camp Fowler! Bonfires and s’mores, early morning lake swims, family meals and table trivia, friendship bracelets, canoeing and sailing, and lots and lots of singing. Our Perfect Ten cohort becomes its own little family amidst the bigger group of girls in attendance, and we support one another in all of the firsts and feats that we are challenged with in this inspiring setting. It’s one of those special places where it’s so hard not to have fun, truly. Thanks to Uncle Kent and the Camp Fowler crew, who bring the pep and zest all week long. 


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JAMAL!
It has also become a tradition for Perfect Ten girls to participate in the West African Dance & Drumming workshop led by choreographer Jamal Jackson and his amazingly talented dance crew, who come up to PS21 just to host youth and share their love of West African music. This is the 7th summer we’ve done this with Jamal, and this was an exceptional one. In years past we’ve done drumming and dancing, and then there is a cooking component where the participants work together to cook a lunch for everyone to enjoy. This year, we took it to the next level… we looped in The Sylvia Center to get on the West African plane with us! Half of the group learned choreography from Jamal in the morning, while the other half of the group cooked up a meal, inspired by traditional West African cuisine. Then the groups swapped and, by midday, we had an impressive meal to share as well as new and demanding dances. The girls learned new ways of listening and taking up space with sound through West African drumming! We were delighted to be able to perform all that was learned at the brand new, breathtaking theater at PS21. Thank you to Judy Grunberg for always welcoming us with such warmth, and to the huge crowd we drew for being so lively and supportive. Jamal and company-- these folks are the real deal. We love you and we can’t wait for it all to go down again next summer!


ART OMI ALL SUMMER LONG
For a few summer nows, Perfect Ten girls of all ages and backgrounds have had the opportunity to attend Camp OMI at Art OMI on scholarships. This summer, we were able to plug in over 20 girls throughout the course of the summer to participate in the wonder of art camp… and there’s a pool too! These girls dove into many art practices: a 2D Art Studio for drawing, painting, printmaking, collaging, and learning about both art history and contemporary artists; a Sculpture Shop where youth work with ceramics, wood, three-dimensional mixed media, and on collaborative projects, drawing inspiration from international contemporary sculptors, architects, and makers; a Dance & Movement studio for, well, dancing and moving plus games and improv; and Field Studies, where STEAM curricula is used to explore the diverse landscape of the Art OMI grounds. This has been a consistent highlight throughout the summer months, with each girl begging to go back to camp for another session. A huge thank you to Art OMI staff and friends for making this possible for so many girls of Perfect Ten!


LOOKING FORWARD
The 2018-2019 school year is almost upon us, and we have so much to look forward to! We are delighted to be welcoming many new faces in the fall, at all levels- with the Sprouts, the Buds, and the Blooms! Tuesdays and Thursdays we will continue to host Sprouts at the Intermediate School, and we are delighted to welcome back two Perfect Ten allstars, Legacy Rivera and Jeanna Lazzara, who will be working with the younger girls as counselors and mentors. We believe the best Perfect Ten role models are the big Perfect Ten girls who are flourishing and have a lot to share about their experiences growing up with Perfect Ten. Who better to teach the ten promises than them? In the clubhouse, the Buds, our middle schoolers, will be busy Monday through Friday with activities galore including: horseback riding, sewing arts, nature excursions, contemporary dance, jewelry design and metalsmithing, film production, personal fitness, and STEM exploration. The high school girls, the Blooms are in for a treat this fall with our new “Ready, Set, Go” program, which includes a Job Readiness course, a Financial Literacy workshop, and paid apprenticeship opportunities in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Basilica Hudson. Thank you for your continued support, and please do follow along with us as the adventures continue… 
 

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GIRL REPORT: WINTER 2017/2018

NONSTOP ACTION

Perfect Ten girls have been going nonstop all winter long. Not even an overabundance of snow can slow this crew down! From daily workshops to trips and events, these past few months we’ve embodied our Perfect Ten promises in the most impressive of ways. Trying new things, getting to know people who are different from us, making goals for our future, working as hard as we can-- we are coming to know these values through the diverse experiences and thought provoking conversations that we engage in on the regular. As we move into springtime, we recognize the importance of pausing and reflecting, of recalling to our beloved community just what goes on in and out of the doors of our home away from home.

 Rhianna in all of her glory down by the Hudson riverfront. 

Rhianna in all of her glory down by the Hudson riverfront. 

 Perfect Ten with girl-made signs outside our clubhouse ready to march for WOMEN!

Perfect Ten with girl-made signs outside our clubhouse ready to march for WOMEN!

WOMEN’S MARCH 2018

Let’s backstep a bit to the Women’s March-- wow! January 20th, 2018 was a special day here in Hudson. During the weeks prior, our older girls put together a choreographed piece to the inspiring song “That’s Alright” by Laura Mvula. They then taught and rehearsed it with our 6th graders, the “Buds”, in preparation for a big kick-off performance at the Basilica as part of the culminating event at the Women’s March. Other girls accompanied them with their voices and some percussion making for a collage of talents to showcase to our community. Each girl made her own sign to march with, and the day of we were fired up to stand for WOMEN. It was so thrilling to be part of this epic event, and we so many people in our small city of Hudson! We could feel the energy and support all around us, a morale booster for sure. As the only space exclusively for girls in Hudson, NY, we felt proud to share our purpose with fellow marchers.

#GRRRL

In conjunction with this, we launched a new ongoing workshop in our clubhouse that meets every Tuesday. It’s called “#grrrl”, and it’s really a conversation about feminism with the goal of  providing young girls with the opportunity to learn and discuss social justice issues in modern society. As part of Perfect Ten, we aim to arm girls with the tools and language to combat any injustices that may come their way. Created and led by our beloved staff member Faith, this timely workshop has become one of our most popular, with girls eager to join in on the conversation each week. Specifically, Faith explores topics including misconceptions of feminism, the politics of a woman’s body, the male gaze and societal norms, the portrayal of women of color, microaggressions, toxic masculinity, why boys need feminism too, dismantling gender roles, intersectionality, cultural appropriation, victim blaming and shaming, and the women that history forgot. Phew! We strongly believe that these are the very topics we MUST talk about-- and now!

 Quianna the DJ at WGXC Radio.

Quianna the DJ at WGXC Radio.

 Gretchen Kelly teaching girls watercolor techniques.

Gretchen Kelly teaching girls watercolor techniques.

RADIO & WATERCOLOR

February started with Perfect Ten on the radio! We were invited to do an evening show at WGXC where girls DJ’ed songs that are rarely played on mainstream radio. It was such a blast! We learned how to use the switchboards and cue each other, and each girl took turns introducing and playing her musical collection. We hope to do this again, perhaps as a regular weekly radio show! Around this time we also began a watercolor workshop with local artist Gretchen Kelly who is an absolutely amazing and talented person, inside and out! Gretchen comes every week to work with the Buds to show them various watercolor techniques. So far they have done still lifes of flowers and fruits as well as portraits of themselves and others. Creative juices are flowing!

 Intense arcade games at Catskill Bowling as part of the Mentorship program.

Intense arcade games at Catskill Bowling as part of the Mentorship program.

PTEN MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

We also recently re-launched our mentorship program where we pair Perfect Ten girls with inspiring women in the community, prompting them to develop lasting relationships, learn from one another, and widen their network and support system. Through monthly get togethers and outings, both mentor and mentee work to establish trust, listen and share, ask questions, give input, and challenge themselves. The outings are fun and engaging. For the kick-off event, the mentorship pairs went bowling in Catskill and got down with some arcade games. This month they will be getting to know some animals and how they contribute to the biodynamic system that is Hawthorne Valley Farm.

 At Black Righteous Space exhibit at UAlbany Art Museum. 

At Black Righteous Space exhibit at UAlbany Art Museum. 

 Ice skating in front of the New York State capitol building. 

Ice skating in front of the New York State capitol building. 

ALBANY ADVENTURES

Speaking of outings-- our winter break was one for the books! The first day we took a group of the older girls to Albany for the day. We started off at the University Art Museum at UAlbany specifically to see Black Righteous Space, an interactive art exhibit by Hank Willis Thomas. With a microphone in the center of a blank, dark room, we saw projections of the Confederate Flag that had been manipulated in color and cut up to create kaleidoscope designs. The new colors, red, green, and black, represent black liberation and the pan-African flag. We heard vocals from various notable black politicians, writers, and musical artists including Malcolm X, Gil Scott-Heron, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and others. Thomas challenged us to add our own voices to further disrupt the jarring psychedelic imagery. This was powerful! We then joined in on a tour of the UAlbany campus where we got a sneak peak into the life of a college student. Girls had the opportunity to see the dorms and facilities, learn about all of the options for majors and minors, and ask questions to some current students about their backgrounds, personal interests, and pursuits. After this, we found ourselves in doing one of the most fun winter-time activities in one of the most picturesque of settings: ice skating under the New York state capitol building. It was so fun! And they even had little carts that we could push around on ice since most of us had never been ice skating before! We highly recommend this experience.

 

WINTER IN NYC

For the rest of winter break we headed down to the big apple with the Buds (6th graders). We took the Metro North train, which was a first-time train experience for most of the girls. Such pretty views of the Hudson River! Our first stop upon arrival was our sister organization, the Lower East Side Girls Club. Over the break from school they were hosting a full-fledged circus week, which we were lucky enough to participate in. On this first day girls worked to design and sew their own circus-inspired costumes. They also made colorful banners and experimented with LED lights! The especially cool thing about being at the Girls Club, aside from their amazing facility, top-notch instructors and staff, and five star hospitality is that the girls get to reunite with their camp friends who they haven’t seen since summer camp! Everyone is so excited to see one another and reminisce about those magical camp days and nights. A subway ride later, after settling in near Lincoln Center, we walked all the way down to Chelsea Market for dinner and exploration! It was one of those freak warm evening back in February-- the perfect kind of weather for strolling down the avenues of NYC! We found a scenic spot to eat on the HighLine, and we got some gelato to top off the night. The next day we had some classic New York bagels for breakfast and then ran to our appointment at the New York Historical Society where we were invited for an exclusive tour of their new Hotbed exhibit on women’s suffrage. We learned some critical history, a lot of which isn’t actually talked about in school, and asked some critical questions along the way. Plus we saw a super inspiring movie about women standing up for their rights throughout history. There’s still work to be done, girls! Back at the Lower East Side Girls Club we finished up our costumes and banners and participated in a circus-themed photoshoot, facepaint and all! Then we zoomed up to Harlem to the Gavin Brown Enterprise Gallery to see Latoya Ruby Frazier’s incredible body of documentary photography work. The artist herself (who flew in from Chicago) spoke with us about her experiences as an artist/photographer documenting the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, touching on crucial topics such as environmental racism, the power of art, the importance of social activism, how the media “neutralizes and sanitizes” our language, and her commitment to calling out what is. She also let us in on her photo processing techniques, why she chose specific images for the show, and how important it was for her to get to know her subjects and to stand and fight for justice beside them. She inspired us to take our passions seriously. We learned about her own upbringing and personal struggles, and we walked away with a commitment to fighting for what’s right, to understanding our life’s purpose, to recognizing that- we are not these bodies, but the souls inside of them. We are so humbled by this powerful exhibition and inspiring words by Latoya! Thank you to Wide Rainbow and the Girls Club for setting this up and inviting us! We can’t wait to interview Latoya at the Girls Club in the near future! We managed to fit in some touristy things that these girls dreamed of experiencing-- like Central Park during the day and Time Square at night. It was a whirlwind of a trip- definitely one for the books!

 At Spotty Dog for the All Women's Eve in celebration of International Women's Day.

At Spotty Dog for the All Women's Eve in celebration of International Women's Day.

SPECIAL HAPPENINGS

We’ve had some special happenings recently. Most notably, participating in the All Women’s Eve at the Spotty Dog in celebration of International Women’s Day! We had a similar feeling as we did at the Women’s March, the good feels that arouse when a community comes together and supports one another! Another special day we had was a recent Friday when there was no school. Guess how we spent it? With wolves! That’s right. We drove to South Salem, NY to the Wolf Conservation Center where we got to hang and howl with real live wolves! This magical place educates the public all about wolves and how we can help protect their future. They also participate in Species Survival and Recovery Plans for endangered wolf species. It was definitely a “WOW” experience. We then headed to Norwalk, CT to the Maritime Aquarium to top off our day of vertebrate exploration. We got to see some sea creatures close up like never before. The girls sought out, priced, and planned these trips, which was an empowering process. Perfect Ten will be forever exploring-- watch out world!

 Sayzie Carr showing Kiara some shibori and indigo dyeing techniques. 

Sayzie Carr showing Kiara some shibori and indigo dyeing techniques. 

ONGOING WORKSHOPS

Perfect Ten is still going strong with daily workshops in and out of the clubhouse. We’re still knee deep in knitting with Candace Bachrach, jewelry making with Shana Lee, pottery with Paula Greif, and cooking with Emily. Plus, we recently added an indigo dyeing to the mix with Sayzie Carr at her studio on Union St.! We are in the process of dyeing and sewing our own tote bags and pillows, and they are seriously impressive. Perhaps we will sell some at Farm & Flea! In addition to #grrrl, Faith also teaches “Me, Myself, and My Imagination”. Girls unleash the full fury of their creative imaginations and learn more about themselves and the people around them in the process. Participants are in the process of creating Original Characters (OCs) as they dive into fandom culture, psychology of characters, creating mood boards, making lore, understanding representation, and beyond. By the end of this workshop, Girls will have produced either a comic, a detailed art piece, a short prose, or a script that tells a story about her OCs. New workshops in the works include: dance, financial literacy, job prep, and carpentry.

 Monalissa takes on NYC. 

Monalissa takes on NYC. 

 Legacy working her magic with the Sprouts.

Legacy working her magic with the Sprouts.

BUDDING STARS

All of our girls are, well, perfect. We owe a few of them shoutouts. Monalissa Carius is a rising star. She met her mentor, Saskia Kahn, who is a professional photographer, in NYC to explore the city through the lens of a photographer, quite literally! After spending time at the International Center for Photography (ICP) museum, we were welcomed by the ICP community to sit in on the B&W and color photography classes at their Teen Academy. Students were busy developing their prints in the darkroom, and we got an inside look at the relationship between exposure, film development, and a final print. Hooray to Monalissa for following her passions and taking them seriously! Another huge shoutout to Legacy Rivera, who was recently hired by Perfect Ten to work at the Sprouts program with 4th and 5th graders alongside Teresa and Whitney. Never could we have dreamed up a more helpful, kind, and inspiring being, who grew up as a Perfect Ten girl, to now help raise the next generation of girls! Go Legacy! Jeana Lazzara, who also works at the After School program, was recently accepted to St. Rose to study early childhood education! Jeana was part of the first graduating class of Perfect Ten girls, and she comes back to visit and share stories of the original crew. Lastly, we have so many girls who recently made the spring track team! Go Kiemita, Marie, Monalissa, Danaya, Tamana, Yasmeen, Sanjida, and Selina! We look forward to coming to their meets.

UPCOMING EVENTS

All Girls Clothing Swap/Party at the PTEN Clubhouse (GIrls Ages 10-17): 4/21 @ 1pm.

Drone Choir at Basilica 24-Hour Drone Fest with Arone Dyer: 4/28-4/29

Basilica Farm and Flea Vendor: 5/12-5/13

 

 Powerful girls after the Women's March Hudson 2018.

Powerful girls after the Women's March Hudson 2018.

GIRL REPORT: SUMMER 2017

Perfect Ten has taken a deep, deep dive into SUMMER (don’t worry, nobody drowned...)!

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First, and most importantly, CONGRATS to all of the Perfect Ten graduates! We are seriously smart and seriously talented; National Honors Society, honor roll, and awards for math, science, chorus, and arts. Shout outs to Hailey, Monalissa, Danaya, Marie, and Liliianna. Our first class of graduating seniors, Rebekah, Ingrid, Demaris, and Jeana, are going to college at the end of August. Go girls, with blessings, courage and love!

In the last days of school, we took some beach days, trips to the movies, picnics, and a sisterhood sleepover (thanks Owen and Maggie!). We also tie-dyed team Perfect Ten shirts using natural dyes that we made from turmeric, berries, beets, and cabbage. The results were fab.

The last weekend in June was summer market. This was our second year learning from Hudson River Exchange (XOXO @ Kate and Stella). We showed market-goers how to sort their garbage, for minimal trash output, and helped vendors by booth sitting so that they could take breaks. Did you know how much we love to participate in local events? Who doesn’t like meeting the creative folks around the Hudson community?

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Then, a week-long Young Photographer’s Workshop with Saskia and Sabella Kahn from LightField in Brooklyn. The agenda: all things media-- photojournalism do’s and don’ts, portrait making, and public speaking. We learned about composition, captioning, polaroid transfers, and writing artists’ statements. Come see the impressive, girl-made work on August 12th, 6pm at Hudson Hall, part of the Just the Facts LightField Festival of Photography and Multimedia Art.  

On July 16th, we were rolling! An ENORMOUS thank you to all who helped to make sleep away camp possible for us! We were greeted by our friends at Camp Fowler, and jumped right into the lake! Packed days, alongside the Lower East Side Girls Club of New York City, the Glasgow Girls Club from New Zealand, and the Yaya Inc. of New Orleans, was, in a word, unforgettable.  Sailing, kayaking, hiking, yoga, archery, screen-printing and yeah, lots of just hanging. We spent early mornings on the lake and evenings at the campfire. There was a talent show, scavenger hunts, and storytelling slams. Tanazia’s summer claim to fame is that her sailboat DID NOT flip over. Opi loved the moose sing-along song. Kiemita must have braided 132 girls’ heads in over five days!

Back in Hudson, we are busy with Art OMI and prepping for the ULTRA SPECTACULAR next edition of See Me Like This with photographer Valerie Shaff.

Next week, Quianna, Zia, Kiara, and Lilianna will go on a week-long trip to Washington, D.C. This trip will provide an opportunity for research and SELF discovery. Stay tuned!

With gratitude, 
The Perfect Ten Family