After fun hellos and name games, the first thing we do at Own Your Awesomeness is a scavenger hunt! We divide the girls into small groups and give them a sheet with a map and various activities and destinations to find around Center City. Their task: complete as many of the tasks as possible and take pictures at each one! The groups organize, head outside, and start off in a direction, unintentionally meandering through the city blocks for an hour.
As they wander, girls are often seeing the city with new eyes. They are navigating; they are choosing where to go next. They are on the lookout for beautiful murals and historical plaques. They are figuring out that Broad Street is really 14th Street. They are finding parks and rainbow crosswalks. They are making human pyramids and petting a stranger’s dog. They are opening up and being awkward and being silly and working together.
While the scavenger hunt is a great way for the girls to engage with the city and with each other, it also gets me thinking about the agency and self-determination of navigation. When you know how to get from point A to point B, whether it’s from reading a paper map or having Siri tell you, you can literally get yourself places. You can decide where you go next, how you get there, and why you choose that route. Maybe you want to get there fast because you want to get things started. Maybe you want to take the scenic route and appreciate the environment. Or maybe you want to get there in the cheapest way possible! Once you have the skills to travel, you can go anywhere. Own Your Awesomeness is about building those skills, a little at a time, to unlock for girls the tools they already have.
Jamie Walsh is a junior at Temple University and a lover of toaster strudel, beluga whales, and all things Joe Biden. She has a passion to write and explore the all possibilities Philadelphia has to offer as a student, a woman, and a dreamer.