The Huntington Gardens was teeming with more than 230 women writers and teen girls at the WriteGirl Season 18 Mentee Welcome Day on Saturday, November 10. The day included writing activities, mentor and mentee matching, and opportunities to find inspiration in the gardens and museums. Girls got creative with fun writing prompts, such as a girl empowerment table featuring career-oriented Barbie dolls. The girls also went into the gardens to perform in “Poetry Pop-Ups,” sharing their original poetry and prose as part of The Huntington’s Family Day. Visitors also were treated to a live poetry reading in the afternoon, followed by WriteGirl’s traditional and well-loved “Soapbox,” which gives girls a chance to rant or rave for 30 seconds about anything on their minds.
WriteGirl Executive Director Keren Taylor was elated by the attendance and enthusiasm. “This is our biggest turnout ever, which is both awesome — and daunting! It’s wonderful to see girls experiencing WriteGirl for the first time, as well as those returning for another season,” Taylor said. “Girls have a real need for this kind of community. Now, more than ever, we all need a positive place to be together and help uplift each other. I’m feeling uplifted today, and I hope everyone else does, too.”
As southern California reeled from wildfires and the Thousand Oaks mass shooting. attendees took comfort in being with like-minded writers and friends. Sky, a tenth-grader starting her second year as a mentee and working on a novel, echoed Taylor’s sentiment. “My favorite thing is meeting people who are like me, who have my weaknesses and share my flaws,” she said.
Gillian, a ninth-grader also in her second season with WriteGirl, agreed. “I like meeting people who have the same passion as me and who I can collaborate with… who got up at 9 on a Saturday to be here!”
New mentor Steph Hallett, who was paired with Gillian and Sky for the day, admitted she’d been anxious about her first WriteGirl workshop. “I was so nervous, I couldn’t sleep,” she said, before beaming at Sky and Gillian. “But you girls are the best!”