4 Empowering Girl Programs to Put on Your Radar for Back-to-School Season

These programs will help your daughter find her confidence, courage, and independence. Check out what programs the area has to offer.

girl programs
Participants show off their Zee Zees snacks after completing a 5K. Image courtesy of Girls on the Run Southeastern Michigan.

For many kids, after-school programs can be a great source of comfort. They can provide a safe and supportive learning environment; offer dedicated time for homework and socialization; teach children practical life skills that they might not necessarily get inside a classroom.

But for young girls especially, after-school programs can make a huge difference in boosting their self-confidence and building lasting friendships. Here are four empowering after-school programs for girls in Washtenaw County to put on your radar now for later this school year.

Girls Group

Everyone needs a support system, and your daughter will definitely find one at Girls Group. The program spans middle school, high school, and continues into college. Girls Group empowers young women to be emotionally and economically self-sufficient by ensuring that they graduate high school. During their weekly meetings, participants will enjoy a safe space to explore their identity and receive support from their peers and mentors. They’ll also engage in fun icebreaker activities and meaningful group discussions about planning for the future. Girls Group offers weekly in-school and after-school programs in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and you can learn more about each online.

Note: Girls Group’s next Fall Recruitment/Re-Engagement dates are September 13, September 20, and September 27. Anyone interested in joining the program should complete a Girls Group Application online. 

1100 N. Main, Suite 106, Ann Arbor. 734-531-5996. girlsgroup.org.

Girls on the Run Southeastern Michigan

Ready, set, set your daughter up for success! Help your child cultivate healthy habits and healthy relationships by signing them up for Girls on the Run Southeastern Michigan. Participants will follow a tested curriculum that blends physical activity with skill development. Over the course of the season, they’ll learn how to make positive decisions, how to respond to others with care and compassion, how to cooperate as part of a team, and ultimately how to improve their physical and emotional well-being. Programs are led by qualified and caring coaches and culminate in a 5K at the end of the season.

Cost: $165 per girl.

Note: Fall program dates have yet to be determined. The Spring 2022 season begins in March. Check back for more details regarding Camp GOTR.

3075 Clark Rd, Suite 101, Ypsilanti. 734-712-5640. Girlsontherunsemi.org.

girl programs
Participants work on a craft during their troop meeting. Image courtesy of Girls Scouts Heart of Michigan.

Girls Scouts Heart of Michigan

Encourage your daughter to step outside of her comfort zone and try something new with help from Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan. After locating a troop in your area, your child will have the opportunity to attend troop meetings, connect with other girls, explore the great outdoors, and earn badges on a variety of educational topics. (This year alone, Girl Scouts added badges in Entrepreneurship, STEM Career Exploration, Automotive Engineering, and Civics.) Girls choose which badges they earn and decide what kind of activities they want to participate in, and along the way, they build courage, confidence, and character.

Cost: $35 per girl, annual fee. (October 1-September 30)

1671 Plymouth Rd, Ann Arbor. 734-714-5140. gshom.org/en/about-girl-scouts/join.html.

Young Women Making Waves

Help your daughter feel more comfortable around the water and more comfortable in her own skin by signing her up for Young Women Making Waves at Ann Arbor YMCA. This after-school program is completely free for girls and non-binary youth ages 11 to 18. The program is designed to improve their strength and develop life-long swim skills. Participants typically meet twice a week for swimming instructions, as well as group discussions on body image, identity, and healthy relationships. By the end of the program, your child will be a proficient swimmer, and they will have the opportunity to compete in local swim meets with their friends. No experience is required.

Cost: Free!

Note: Fall program dates have yet to be determined. Check back for more information.

400 West Washington St, Ann Arbor. 734-996-9622. Annarborymca.org.