As an organization, our mission is simple – we want to positively impact the next generation with the gift of friendship skills. We believe strongly that enhancing the social-emotional wellbeing of children is a cornerstone of their future success and our goal is to reach as many children around the world as possible.
As a business, we are always trying to avoid the “because we’ve always done it that way!” trap and this past year we came to a surprising conclusion – if we were starting our company today, we would focus on the development of co-educational programming.
With the creation of GirlPower first in 2009, then GoodGuys in 2014, we were working under the assumption that gender was a fundamental differentiating factor in relationships and that the skills required to build and maintain healthy friendships were very different for boys and girls. Our findings have revealed two important truths:
- The relationships of girls and boys, especially in the early grades, and the social skills required to create happy, healthy interactions have much more in common than we originally anticipated.
- As differences begin to emerge in adolescence, it is critical that both boys and girls are aware of these changes so that they can build stronger relationships with each other and develop prosocial behavioural patterns.
Going forward, we’ll continue to honour our existing GirlPower and GoodGuys programs (we work with hundreds of same-sex schools and groups like the Girls Guides, Boy Scouts, etc.) although our corporate brand will be built around our core mantra – URSTRONG. Ultimately, URSTRONG represents how we want all of the children (and adults too) to feel after having interacted with us. We want them to feel empowered in their relationships, buoyed by the skills and confidence that our workshops and programs instill in participants.
We sincerely hope that you’ll continue to be part of our journey! We hope that we’ve helped you and the children in your life develop relationships centred on trust, respect, and honesty. And always remember – URSTRONG!
Michael Kerford, CEO
[Note: This post was written & published on October 25, 2016]