Wendy - Coordinator/Facilitator/Trainer
Wendy started Girls Group with a colleague in 1999. She wanted to provide a safe and supportive space that was accepting of all self-identified girls to be themselves, and to not have to feel pressure to conform to stereotypes. She has always been passionate about the advancement of gender equity.
She envisioned having conversations with girls about topics they had never had the opportunity to discuss: gender stereotypes, media literacy, patriarchy, body image, feminism, women’s history. Although she was in her early 30s when she started the groups, she had vivid memories of her experience as an adolescent girl.
Much of what she experienced was similar to what she was hearing all those years later. She wanted girls to have what she didn’t have – a place to process and explore the context of those experiences. She was going on a hunch, and in the last 21 years, hundreds of girls have shown her hunch was on the mark.
She hopes in a small way Girls Group helps girls to realize they are not alone in their struggles, they have a voice, and they have the power to create positive change.
Wendy loves working with the girls who constantly enlighten her, inspire her, and display courage, strength and resilience. She greatly appreciates being part of a supportive, giving community that reinforces the importance of this work. Wendy is currently on leave from her 17 year position as a Youth and Family Substance Use Counsellor. In addition to being the Coordinator for Girls Group, she was elected to Courtenay city council in 2018, and is also a Comox Valley Regional district municipal director. She has post-secondary education in Human Services and Women’s Studies.
She has four sons and seven grandchildren. Wendy enjoys kayaking, creating art, performing in community theatre, cooking, writing, and travelling. A new love is cycling on her ebike throughout the beautiful natural environment of the Comox Valley.
Amy - Guest Facilitator
Amy moved to the Comox Valley from Ontario 13 years ago and has been working with Girls Group for more than 10 years. She is consistently amazed by the resiliency, courage and strength shown by the participants in Girls Group as well as the skills and knowledge shown by the women she works with.
Amy considers the safe and supportive environment which Girls Group provides its participants an essential part of healthy development through the ups and downs of adolescence and young adulthood. She is strongly committed to the feminist principles that Girls Group is based on and believes in a strengths based approach to her work.
In her time off, Amy enjoys gardening, wildcrafting, cooking, yoga, the great outdoors, her dog, her friends and more recently playing the fiddle.
Angie - Facilitator/ Trainer
She believes in the importance of strong communities and in spending time with people of all ages, at all stages of life. In the past she has enjoyed coaching girls’ basketball and lacrosse teams, coordinating family oriented and community events, and still spends as much time as she can in the wise company of her Grandparents.
Angie brings to Girls Group a host of diverse talents and interests that inform her facilitation style. She is a professional artist, farmer and snowboard builder with a degree in Film and Media Studies from Queen’s University. The natural world is her source of energy and motivation; while creativity, community and mindfulness are central to her philosophy around group work.
Her greatest hope for Girls Group is that the participants feel as inspired and empowered by their time together as she does.
Serena - Facilitator/ Trainer
All that she has learned from her training and education she brings into the group experience. Before her involvement as a Girls Group facilitator Serena worked in the field of outdoor pursuits. Beginning in the Canadian Rockies working for an Aboriginal Outdoor Program called Rediscovery she found her passion for working with youth. This carried forward when she moved to British Columbia and started her 3 year employment at Strathcona Park Lodge.
Serena continues to love and participate in a variety of outdoor sports and believes nature is fundamentally a part of her well- being. Serena’s interest lies in the self-awareness of others and bases all of her Girls Group content on this.
Avis - Facilitator
Avis O’Brien (Nalaga / Kaaw Kuuna) is a Haida / Kwakwakw’wakw is a land based cultural empowerment facilator. Her passion is assisting in positive identity development, building allies, empowering girls and women to step into their own potential, and breaking cycles. She is the mother of 2 beautiful children and loves being a mother. On her down time she loves to weave, dance, sing, ride bikes and climb rocks.
Kennedy - Facilitator
Kennedy is thrilled to be starting her first year with the Comox Valley Girls Group! As a young woman, she had the chance to be in a similar program and feels it greatly shaped and impacted her view of the world and what she could do in it. When the chance arose for Kennedy to be involved, she felt she could not pass it up.
Kennedy has always had a passion for education, community and helping empower women of all ages. She brings a depth of knowledge from working with young women her whole career as a dance, music and voice teacher, and holds a bachelors degree in Musical Theatre from Oakville’s Sheridan College. Her involvement in the arts greatly affects and influences her facilitation style and helps keep her listening actively, on her toes, and excited to try new ideas.
In her spare tie, Kennedy enjoys cooking and baking for her loved ones as well as spending every chance she can at the beach, no matter the weather. Kennedy’s only goal in the Girls Group is for each young woman to feel more confident and capable than they did the first day they arrived.