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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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