PowerPlay NYC’s SuperSTARS Leadership Academy (SSLA) is a six-week intensive program, from July to mid August, which provides opportunities for high school girls to be physically active, explore a variety of careers, receive training in important career and life skills, prepare for the college application process, and interact and connect with positive female role models. This summer an unprecedented 50 Leadership Academy participants from across NYC had a summer to remember.
The Leadership Academy’s first week was focused on building a positive community, both safe and inclusive. Our SSLAers bonded over rock climbing and yoga, participated in healthy living learning with a local chef, financial literacy lessons from the High Water Women Foundation, college essay prep with Girls Write Now, and ended the week with an overnight to the Princeton-Blairstown Center in New Jersey for teambuilding and lessons on overcoming obstacles. This week was crucial in setting the tone for our Academy – what a success it was!
Clockwise from top left: rockclimbing w/ Brooklyn Boulders; high ropes course during our overnight trip to the Princeton-Blairstown Center; yoga with lululemon.
Week Two introduced the theme of leadership. From pushing through the rain during a rugby clinic with Play Rugby USA to lacing up roller skates (many doing so for the first time!) with the NYC-based roller derby team Gotham Girls, SSLAers exemplified leadership to the best of their abilities. While some of our girls led the pack pushing their comfort zones through learning new sports, others took advantage of the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and stepped into leadership roles. The week’s highlights included gaining knowledge on the college application process through the Columbia University College Fair, taking part in a tennis clinic at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, a uniquely impactful panel and mentoring from female professionals at Madison Square Garden and access to a WNBA New York Liberty game. During these events our coaches witnessed more than one SSLAer discover that she is more powerful than she knows.
Play Rugby USA rugby clinic action shots; West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, Queens
As the Academy moved into Week Three, new skills and friendships continued to grow. The theme of support and our accompanying mantra of “We’ve got your back!” were fitting. SSLAers took part in rowing workshops on and off Meadow Lake in Queens with Row New York exercising their teamwork muscle. Later in the week, the girls visited State Street, the financial services holding company. They formed teams and consulted with volunteers to pitch product ideas and a business plan to a panel of investors during a mock version of “Shark Tank.” Talk about challenging! The girls also toured Yankee Stadium and got the chance to hear from the inspiring females helping operate that historic organization.
Clockwise from top left: Tour of Yankee Stadium; Row New York rowing clinic at Meadow Lake, Queens; Pitching business plans with State Street
For the final week of SSLA, our closing theme was “Dream Big and Dare to Fail.” Our SSLAers spent time with volunteers from UBS, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan to get insight into the financial industry, receive advice and mentoring on networking, resume writing and goal-setting to reach their dream careers and take part in some friendly competition — basketball and kickball games! As the program wound to an end, the girls were prepped for their two-week internships where’d they’d get to put to use the skills they’d been developing over the past month in the Leadership Academy. All 50 participants were placed at various host sites across a range of industries including finance, medical, legal, nonprofit, education, government, fashion and the arts.
Clockwise from top left: team huddle with Deutsche Bank volunteers; resume help with UBS; group photo with JP Morgan volunteers
Now that we’ve successfully reached the end of our two-week internship period, we eagerly look forward to the exciting year ahead. Activities and events include monthly workshops to continue developing college and career readiness skills, college access opportunities, our youth coach mentor program, fun social events and so much more. We look forward to updating you on our programming! In the meantime, you can keep up all the action via our social media (facebook | twitter | instagram). Here’s to our 50 budding leaders and an exciting year ahead.