5 Ways to Celebrate International Day of the Girl

BGCA’s Youth Development Health & Wellness team are back on the ClubX Blog to join the world in celebrating girls!

We know girls are amazing. And the United Nations (UN) thinks so, too. In 2011, the UN declared Oct. 11th the International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girl’s rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.  Annually since 2012, UN Women has highlighted the inequalities and needs of girls around the world with global stories, statistics and a call to action to ensure girls have access to safety, health, and education. Since the declaration, this day has become an overall celebration of girls.

Did you know that:

  • 12 million girls under 18 are married each year
  • 130 million girls worldwide are still out of school
  • approximately 15 million adolescent girls aged 15-19 have experienced forced sex.

But girls are breaking barriers.

Take part in the worldwide celebration by bringing International Day of the Girl to your Club or Youth Center. Here’s a list of 5 ways you can support girls to explore what matters most to them, girls in their communities, and help your members take steps towards being change-makers.

Get Social

A big part of celebrating International Day of the Girl is helping girls develop and use their own voices to talk about issues that matter to them. Girls can use social media as a channel to share their thoughts. Join the conversation around this year’s theme “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable,” using #dayofthegirl in your co-created posts celebrating and honoring the girls at your Club!

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Host an Event

Host a special event for female-identifying Club members. It could be a special dinner, a unique sports or game activity just for girls, or a conference focused on sharing and learning together. Make sure to include ways to recognize and celebrate each girl attending, and involve girls in planning the event!

Lead a Gratitude Circle

Ask girls to gather in a circle and share a reason they appreciate the girl to their right. Continue to pass the love around the circle so everyone feels appreciated. An alternative is to have girls write their name at the top of a piece of paper and pass the paper around the circle. Girls can write one positive affirmation or appreciation on each girl’s paper.

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Use SMART Girls Resources at Your Club

SMART Girls is BGCA’s small-group health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program for girls, with developmentally appropriate activities for ages 8-10, 11-13, and 14-18. On BGCA.net/SMARTgirls you can find the age-level curricula as well as discussion guides on Teen Dating Violence, Consent, and Breakups.

This fall a brand new SMART Girls resource is coming- the SMART Girls in Action Community Service Guide! This guide enables girls to serve as leaders by walking them through an easy-to-follow process for identifying a need in their community, then addressing it through a service project.  We will let you know the *moment* it comes out over on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, so be sure to “Like” us!

BGC Cypress Teen Girls

Find SMART Girls on MyFuture

But you don’t have to wait for the new guide, because SMART Girls is on MyFuture right now! Earn badges by doing activities about feeling empowered as a girl, financial literacy, and engaging with social media content.


However you celebrate International Day of the Girl, afterschool can play an important role in encouraging girls to pursue their dreams, uplift their self-esteem, and celebrating all their talents. Club staff serve as models, teaching girls how to break boundaries and challenge the gender stereotypes that limit them from achieving their greatest potential. #WhateverItTakes!

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How do you celebrate girls at your Club? What tips and ideas do you recommend for successful gender-based programming? Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email ClubXBlog@bgca.org to share!


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