April flew by! Perfect Ten girls have been busy, participating in community events and trips, including an action-packed week-long Spring Break adventure!
Spring break started off with swimming at Taconic Hills School. Some diving and swimming lessons ensued, as well as a treading water contest. Next we were off to MASS MoCA, where we were particularly in awe of Nick Cave's immersive exhibit, which commented on the collision of gun violence and racism. Girls then went to Bard College for an action packed day, which included a tour of Bard’s beautiful campus, a lunch in the dining hall during their Earth Day week awareness event, and a fun Q&A with some very cool students from the Bard Educational Opportunity Programs office. Girls participated in a fun hands-on science experiment with the Bard Center for Civic Engagement, where we extracted and unraveled DNA samples from our cheeks, and from blueberries and strawberries, too! To top off the day, we got to sit it on a real college class, "Crusading for Justice: Ida B. Wells, Race, Sexuality, Media, and Human Rights" with Natasha Janae Hunter and Tabetha Ewing, who welcomed us so graciously. By the end of the week, we were zooming down to New York City for the day to see the Whitney Biennial and hang out with our camp friends at the Lower Eastside Girls Club. We are so grateful to have such an inclusive sister organization-- go girls! And to top off the week, our girls performed a Caribbean-inspired dance piece at the 16th Annual International Dinner at the former Elks Lodge in Hudson. Phew!
Perfect Ten continues to learn from different artists and makers around the greater Hudson community. Currently, girls are finalizing jewelry pieces with Shana Lee to sell at the 5th Annual Summer Market down by the Hudson Riverfront on June 23rd and 24th. We are also working in house to make tiny books, stuffed animals, mobiles, and more to bring to market as well. Girls have started designing and making their own dresses adorned with personal stenciling and painting with artist Laleh Khorramian. Pottery and ceramics with Paula Greif continues to be a big hit. Girls have made mugs, plates, bowls, pots, and saucers, many of which will make perfect Mother’s Day gifts! And we’ve got two girls who are fully immersed in piano lessons with Cameron Melville, which adds some upbeat sounds to our clubhouse ambiance. We’ve got Ngounga Badila teaching girls boxing, and we’re talking about cyber-bullying and anger management with Penny Calyer from Common Ground. Up next: weaving with Kat Howard from Drop Forge & Tool!
April was abundant with community events, and we were fortunate to join in on many of them. We hosted an open house at the Perfect Ten clubhouse in conjunction with the Galvan Armory Anniversary and Hudson Area Library event. Girls performed a lively dance piece, and were enthusiastic about giving community members a tour of our beautiful space! A week later, our girls got cozy with some of the seniors down at the Senior Center for an evening of cooking. They made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and salads using local ingredients with Nicole LoBue, and had a blast getting to know some new people who frequent the library. The 16th Annual International Dinner was a delight! A huge crowd including every ethnicity in Hudson showed up, with food from all over the world offered. Perfect Ten girls were one among a number of cultural performances, showing off their Caribbean dance skills.
In house, we put on a Mother Daughter Tea Party! We decorated our clubhouse with paper flowers and streamers, and invited mothers (and aunts, grandmas, fathers, cousins) to come with their Perfect Ten girl to enjoy tea and pastries. We had a slideshow of all of our recent adventures, a craft table for moms and daughters to make tiny books together, and we asked family members to contribute to our prayer flag, which has pockets for submissions of activity ideas, jokes, inspirational sayings, life questions, trip ideas, special concerns, advice, and more. It was so wonderful to see the Perfect Ten families come together, all in support of our girls!
Two years ago, we did an inspiring project with local photographer Valerie Shaff called See Me Like This. It culminated in a portrait series of Perfect Ten girls, which were on display at the Hudson Opera House. Well, our girls had such a powerful experience with this project that they’ve been begging to do it again! And so, we have started the next phase of this project, where we are asking girls to dig deep to discover their essences. We’re asking them about the unseen parts of themselves, which Val will be bringing to life, once again. So far, girls have done a few workshops in preparation for their portraits. We asked, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Then, girls picked a single color that spoke to them amongst hundreds of paint samples and did a free association activity around their selected color. We are excited to continue on with this project!
Some other exciting news: Perfect Ten has launched a new website! Check us out, including the See Me Like This portraits, which are featured on the new homepage: www. perfecttenhudson.org. We are also gearing up for summer! Girls will be busy with: local internships, an ongoing farm immersion program at Hawthorne Valley Farm, a photography workshop with LightField, arts camp at Art OMI, a dance workshop with Jamal Jackson from PS21 in Chatham, sleep away camp at Camp Fowler in the Adirondacks, a week-long trip to Washington, D.C., and a slew of summer programs hosted by the Hudson Area Library!
For the first time this summer, we are also planning on hosting our a Perfect Ten Summer Academy for all girls, even those who may not be able to participate in our programming during the school year. We will offer a series of weeklong programs for small groups of girls in subjects ranging from physics and economics to papermaking and coding. We will be offering an astronomy and stargazing class, a tie-dying tutorial, a rocket-building class, a soil science and gardening workshop, and more. These opportunities will allow girls to pursue their own interests with skilled professionals from our community while honing and fine-tuning their STEM skills through engaging, fun activities.
Plus, our UPCOMING EVENTS: Cocktails for Camp on 5/21 and the Count Me In Concert on 6/23.
We’re stoked to see what May brings!
Onward and upward,
Perfect Ten Girls, Paula, Badila, and Emily