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The Confidence Gap

17 Apr


Building confidence is one of our highest priorities at The Recreation Project. Research has consistently shown that high levels of confidence have a direct correlation to enhanced quality of life—whether or not there is competence to back up the confidence. Adolescents are in important phases of life where their experiences are extremely important in steering them towards confidence or self doubt. I found an interesting article addressing the issue of male/female confidence—and wanted to share a few pieces with you., further justifying our bend towards involving girls in outdoor adventure and sports. It’s called “The Confidence Gap”, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in the Atlantic.


“ …For some clues about the role that nurture plays in the confidence gap, let’s look to a few formative places: the elementary-school classroom, the playground, and the sports field. School is where many girls are first rewarded for being good, instead of energetic, rambunctious, or even pushy. But while being a “good girl” may pay off in the classroom, it doesn’t prepare us very well for the real world….

…the result is that many girls learn to avoid taking risks and making mistakes. IMG_0987This is to their detriment: many psychologists now believe that risk-taking, failure, and perseverance are essential to confidence-building….


…Too many girls miss out on really valuable lessons outside of school. We all know that playing sports is good for kids, but we were surprised to learn just how extensive the benefits are, and how relevant to confidence. Studies evaluating the impact of the 1972 Title IX legislation, which made it illegal for public schools to spend more on boys’ athletics than on girls’, have found that girls who play team sports are more likely to graduate from college, find a job, and be employed in male-dominated industries. There’s even a direct link between playing sports in high school and earning a bigger salary as an adult. Learning to own victory and survive defeat in sports is apparently good training for owning triumphs and surviving setbacks at work….


…What a vicious circle: girls lose confidence, so they quit competing, thereby depriving themselves of one of the best ways to regain it….”

Introducing Danielle Anthony

26 Mar


IMG_0688Danielle received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology at IU South Bend. Formerly, she worked for Big Brother Big Sister as a case manager with concerned youth. She equipped and educated the mentors to positively guide and influence the youth. Danielle’s interest in working with youth and love for outdoor sports/adventures is a great opportunity to join both passions. She is assisting in the development of a sustainability plan to TRP, facilitating youth groups at the forest, and co-facilitating the all-girls climbing club. She is delighted to work with the youth of Uganda and treasures the special moments that are to come. Danielle is also the lead nursery school teacher for the Gulu International Nursery School Cooperative—where Ben and Holly’s daughter Elliyah attends school. Danielle enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing tennis, trail biking, swimming, and sharing new adventures with friends.

On the twelfth day…

24 Dec

On the twelfth day…

day 12

On the twelfth day, we  simply wanted to say thank you.  So many of you have made contributions to help ensure that we are able to keep telling these stories and that means so much to us.  Please watch this clip from our program manager and founder, Ben Porter!  This work is only possible because of your generosity.  Click here to give towards more stories of hope and transformation.  With your help, who knows what’s possible in 2014.   Thank you again!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays! And, thank you!


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12 Days of Transformation-on the 12th day. from The Recreation Project on Vimeo.

On the eleventh day…

23 Dec

On the eleventh day…

day 11

In northern Uganda, there are a lot of children that were born while their mothers were in captivity of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).  As we may only be able to imagine, after spending their formative years in the bush with the LRA, these children have significant psychological trauma and a huge loss of childhood.  These children oftentimes have a very hard time finding their place in society.  Many of them remember their lives in the bush and continue to deal with their trauma and loss.

Over the last two years, TRP has worked with a number of groups of these children.  One particular group has come several times.  In this group, there is one boy that often catches our eye. He is quiet.  He sticks to himself and doesn’t engage with the others in the activities, or even at lunch.  One of our outstanding facilitators, Robert, has always managed to really see him, to notice him.  When the boy comes, Robert always finds him and puts his arm around him.  They find something else to do together.  It’s a moment in this boy’s life where he is pursued and recognized. untitled-5

We don’t have stats and numbers on how being known and noticed can change a young person’s life, but we all know it is essential.  We would love to continue this amazing work of noticing and engaging those children who are most vulnerable in this community! This coming year, we hope to provide a long-term, focused group therapy project solely focused on working with kids born in captivity.   This amazing work of transformation will only be possible with support from people who believe that a kid, born in the crossfire of a horrible war in a country far away, like Uganda, should be known and noticed.

Click here to give to TRP today!

On the tenth day…

20 Dec

On the tenth day…

day 10

Have you ever stood on the edge?  Tested the outermost parts of your strength, your emotions and your being?  Have you ever noticed what happens on the edge?  Maybe you are thinking of a time when you were physically on the edge of something; like taking a leap off of a giant platform, just hoping the harness will catch you and you’ll fly, maybe it was a tough conversation with a friend or a new brave idea that has a good shot of getting rejected. I know I have been on the edge many times.  I know what happens to me there.  Both a physical and an emotional response take over, regardless if it is looking off the side of that super steep point on the chair lift as I head up the mountain, or the metaphorical edge I find myself on when I’m on a ledge that no one can see.  My heart beats faster.  My hands get sticky.  My mind gets a bit foggy.  Sometimes, I come to that edge and I respond with strength and grace… and other times, I don’t. (more…)