SUMMIT, NJ - A record-breaking 38 Outstanding Women Leaders (OWLs), from 22 different schools and four different states, attended the Kent Place School Girls’ Leadership Institute (GLI), a 10-day summer enrichment program for girls entering seventh and eighth grades which explores the young women’s leadership potential and strengthens each girl’s self-esteem.

The class was the largest GLI class in the 20-year history of the program.

“There are several reasons why I think GLI has been successful for so many years,” stated Holly Doyle, co-director of GLI. “The carefully tiered design of adults mentoring a head counselor who is often a college student, who herself mentors high school counselors, who then mentor the Middle School participants, encourages investment and growth over so many years of a girl’s life. All of our counselors have been through the program as OWLs, and they know and communicate to prospective and current participants the transformative impact it had on their lives.”

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Through a series of hands-on team building activities and community service opportunities, the young women gain personal confidence and build character by identifying and prioritizing their own belief systems.

Each day, the young ladies experience something new: from volunteering at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and conquering the challenge of a high ropes course, to blindfolded trust walks and round table discussions about ethical decision-making. Each OWL also creates her own “action plan” to implement in her community.

Ongoing reflection is also a vital part of the Institute, and every girl journals regularly. Each young woman receives a journal at the beginning of GLI to decorate as they wish.

Graduates of the program have gone on to become student government leaders, yearbook editors, team captains, and club presidents. To learn more about Kent Place School’s Girls’ Leadership Institute, visit kentplace.org/gli.