Free The World of Limiting Stereotypes

Using film as a catalyst for cultural transformation, The Representation Project inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance, can fulfill their human potential.

From the dynamic team that brought you Miss Representation, the film about the media selling the idea that girls’ and women’s value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity as leaders, are bringing you a new film — The Mask You Live In, which follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Mask-Infographic1Did you know research shows compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives? They consistently hear de-sensitizing messages like “Be a man!” “Man-up!” and “Boys don’t cry.” Sadly many are buying into a culture that doesn’t value caring, relationships or empathy…qualities our society has “feminized.” But these are not feminine qualities, they’re human ones.

Whether you’re a teacher bringing the films to your classroom, a young person challenging sexist media, or a small business owner changing your company culture, check out the new and engaging resources available at

October 14, 2015 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

Rededication Ceremonies for Girl Scouts

Depositphotos_1108348_s-2015It’s Investiture and Rededication Ceremony season for Girl Scouts, and I offer you three options so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel!

Being a Girl Scout leader provides me with an exciting way to inspire young girls and foster leadership qualities early in life. No matter what the age of the girls, I like to infuse my meetings with moments of introspection and meaning. Here are three different Rededication/Investiture ceremonies that you can use to spark your own imagination, use verbatim, or any variation in between.


(All sit in a circle, with a table in the middle prepped with one white taper candle, 3 gold taper candles, and ten colored tea-lights or votive candles. It would be lovely if the colors were the colors of the daisy petals, which ultimately are the colors of the Girl Scout Law values. You may find it helpful to use 3×5 index cards for girl’s parts.)

Colorful short candles without flame. Isolated over white background Stock Photo

Leader: Today we come together to rededicate ourselves to Scouting. I light this first candle to represent the flame of sisterhood that burns in the heart of every Girl Scout. (Light the white taper candle.) Although this is a tiny flame and it lights only a small area, all of us can see it. Though tiny, it is a beacon to every one of us. This tiny light can grow, multiply, and spread, lighting the world. Someone just needs to join it. First we light three candles signifying the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise.

Co-Leader: LIGHTING GOLD CANDLE FROM THE SISTERHOOD CANDLE – Repeat after me “On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country.”
This candle that we light shall shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts are true to God and their country.

Leader: It is our goal is to help you be good citizens of high character.

Co-Leader:: LIGHTING GOLD CANDLE – Repeat after me “To help people at all times.” May the light of the second candle shine as a symbol that a Girl Scout’s greatest desire is to serve.

Leader: It is our goal to help you be confident girls. Enough confidence to have your voices be heard and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Co-Leader:: LIGHTING GOLD CANDLE – Repeat after me “And to live by the Girl Scout Law.” May the light of the third candle shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts are true to their ideals and values, and that these ideals and values make up the Girl Scout Law.

Leader: It is our goal to help you become girls of courage, courage to remember your ideals, and to be true to who you are.

Co-Leader: Now it is time for you to recommit yourselves to the Girl Scout Law. Girls please stand and circle around the table. You may begin. (Girls use the sisterhood candle to light the following candles.) 

Girl #1: LIGHTING 1st COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be honest.”

Girl #2: “What is honest? It is to be truthful in everything I say and do.”

Girl #3: “I will do my best to be fair.”

Girl #4: “What is fair? It is treating other people the way I want to be treated.”

Girl #5: LIGHTING 2nd COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to help where I am needed.”

Girl #6: “What is helping where you are needed? It is finding out what others need, and doing what I can to show them that I care.”

Girl #7: “I will do my best to be friendly.”

Girl #8: “What is being friendly? It is being generous with my kindness.”

Girl #9: LIGHTING 3rd COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be caring and considerate.”

Girl #10: “What is being caring and considerate?”

Girl #11: “It is to be thoughtful of others. It is being the kind of friend you would like to have.”

Girl #12: LIGHTING 4th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be courageous and strong.”

Girl #13: “What is being courageous and strong?”

Girl #14: “It is being brave enough to be true to my heart and to listen to my inner voice.”

Girl #1: LIGHTING 5th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be responsible for what I do and say.”

Girl #2: “What is being responsible for what I do and say?”

Girl #3: “It is knowing that I have choices about what I say and do, and that choices always have consequences. So I always choose wisely.”

Girl #4: LIGHTING 6th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to show respect for myself and others through my words and actions.”

Girl #5: “What does it mean to show respect for myself and others?”

Girl #6: “It means to do your very best in the way that you treat others.”

Girl #7: LIGHTING 7th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to respect authority.”

Girl #8: “What does it mean to respect authority? It means to listen to people who are responsible for us and follow their directions.”

Girl #9: LIGHTING 8th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to use resources wisely.”

Girl #10: “How can we use resources wisely? We can learn not to waste what we have.”

Girl #11: LIGHTING 9th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to protect and improve the world around me.”

Girl #12: “What does it mean to protect and improve the world around me? It means to help preserve the world around us and to help make it a better place.”

Girl #13: LIGHTING 10th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be a sister to every Girl Scout.”

Girl #14: “What does it mean to be a sister? It means to think of all Girl Scouts everywhere, not as strangers, but as friends you haven’t met.

Leader: Thank you ladies for making the world a better place with your light. Congratulations on re-dedicating yourself to girl scouts and the pursuit of courage, confidence and character.


Burning gold candle on a green background

(All stand in a circle, with a table in the middle prepped with one white taper candle, 3 gold taper candles, and ten colored tea-light or votive candles. It would be lovely if the colors were the colors of the daisy petals, which ultimately are the colors of the Girl Scout Law values. An * indicates where to light a candle.)

Leader: Today we come together to rededicate ourselves to Scouting. I light this first candle to represent the flame of sisterhood that burns in the heart of every Girl Scout.

Co-leader: Although it is a tiny flame and it lights only a small area around it, all of us can see it. Though tiny, it is a beacon to every one of us.

Leader: This tiny flame can grow and spread, lighting the world, it just needs other flames to join it and multiply.

Co-leader: Next we light three candles with the flame of sisterhood, signifying the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise.  (*) Please repeat after me: “On my honor, I will try…”

Leader: On my honor, I will TRY. We cannot succeed if we do not attempt. So, we will do our best, put forth our best effort, and although we may not always succeed, we will grow with each new experience as we put into practice the values of the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law.

Co-leader: Please repeat after me: “…to serve God and my country”

Leader: Our goal is to help you become good citizens today and active citizens tomorrow, for a Girl Scout loves her country and knows the importance of having a loving relationship with her God.

Co-leader:: (*) Please repeat after me:  “…to help people at all times”

Leader:  We are all connected as human beings. Never forget that. It may be easier from time to time to help people who are like you, but where there are differences we gain exciting opportunities for understanding and growth.

Co-leader: Others need you and we hope you take pride in knowing that you are learning skills and seeking knowledge which could help someone be happier and allow you to experience what being of service feels like.

Leader:  (*) Please repeat after me: “…and to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

Co-leader: Being generous with your kindness and showing people that you care about them is living by the Girl Scout Law. Being truthful about your feelings, treating others how you wish to be treated, and being the kind of friend you would like to have is living the Girl Scout Law.

Leader: Knowing you have choices and making them wisely, and being brave enough to be true to your heart and listening to your inner voice is living by the Girl Scout Law.

Co-leader:: Listening to people who are responsible for you and following their directions.

Leader: Making friends with your fellow Girl Scouts.

Co-leader: Not wasting what you have.

Leader: Protecting and improving the world around you, and making it a better place…

Co-leader: That’s living the Girl Scout Law.

Leader: Please come forward one at a time to re-dedicate yourselves to Girl Scouts. Using the flame of Sisterhood, light a colored candle representing one of the values of the Law. (* When all candles are lit, move on to the next paragraph.)

Co-leader: As the candle light grows brighter it does indeed fill this room, but it is actually the light inside each one of you that is making this room glow.

Leader: Thank you for making the world a better place with your light, and for sharing it with all of us. And congratulations on re-dedicating yourself to Girl Scouts and the pursuit of courage, confidence and character.

Both: Welcome Back Troop 7755!


Trail mix made of nuts, fruit, and candies.

Trail mix made of nuts, fruit, and candies.

(Have a big bowl handy, some large mixing spoons, and some serving bowls/bags/baggies to eat from. Give every girl a mini box of raisin for each year she has been a girl scout before you begin. This ceremony can be done with multiple leaders, or even modified to have each girl add an ingredient. Having done it both ways, I am partial to having the girls only add their raisin boxes.)

Leader : Have you ever wondered what goes into making a Girl Scout? Well, we have a recipe to show you what Girl Scouts are all about.  Girl Scouts come in all colors, different cities and towns, Every Girl Scout’s a sister no matter what she looks like or how she sounds.  I am starting our mix with these colorful M&Ms.

Leader: Some of us are tall, and some of us are small.  But when we get together, size doesn’t matter at all. I am adding pretzel thins and marshmallows.

Leader: With our words and our actions, we show that we care. We try to do our best to be fair and SQUARE.  I will add Chex Cereal to our mix.

Leader: Sometimes we act a little NUTS, we love to joke and play.  We’d love to put a Girl Scout smile into everybody’s day.  So I am adding a bunch of nuts.

Leader: When we get together, we make circles so round. It’s our never ending friendships to which we are bound.  I will add Cheerios to our mix.

Leader: When we’re planning and working we just don’t stop, we use our creativity so that our imaginations POP.  Next we add some popcorn.

Leader: We respect all God’s creatures, if they’re big or if they’re small. The earth is our home, and there is room here for all. So for all the little creatures, I add some Goldfish crackers.

Leader: It was 1912 when Juliette Low started us off, and like the girls back then, we’re just “CHIPS off the old block.” So for all of us, I add some butterscotch candy chips.

Leader: We get a KICK out of doing new things cause the learning never ends, a kick out of helping others, and spending time with friends. I am adding Kix Cereal to our mix.

Leader: When you were Brownies, you were fresh, new and rare, but now that you’re Juniors, you have experience to share. I’d like for each of you to come up one at a time and add your mini-box(es) of raisins representing each year you’ve spent in Scouting. Today you are adding _____ boxes representing ____ years of combined service.

Leader: Now we stir to the left and we stir to the right, we mix it together with all of our might. We welcome our troop to another great year, and hope the memories we make, we will always hold dear.

Leader: Now that our recipe is complete, let us look upon what we have just created. Each of the ingredients went into our recipe separately, just like each of you girls came into this troop separately.

Leader: As the ingredients mix together to form a dish, you girls mix together to form a troop.

Leader: And even as we look upon the mixture, we can still see each ingredient as separate and unique. You girls each bring your own unique talents and gifts to our troop to make this “mixture of girls” as special as it is.

Leader: Now at this time, I’d like (name girls who are brand new to scouting to join in on the “Investiture” part of the ceremony. If there are no new girls, simply move to the next paragraph) to step forward. Ladies, please make the Girl Scout Sign by raising three fingers to represent the Girl Scout Promise which you are about to recite, and repeat after me — “On my honor I will try, to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.” Congratulations, you have just “invested” yourself in Girl Scouts. (Put her vest/sash on her.) You may rejoin the others.

Now it’s time for the rest of you to each rededicate yourselves to Girl Scouting. Please make the Girl Scout Sign and together we say the Girl Scout Promise. (When done, put their vests/sashes on them.)

To complete our ceremony, let us all say the Girl Scout Law together as a troop, Girl Scout Signs up — “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, AND TO respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place and be a sister to every girl scout.”Welcome to Troop #_______, ladies, and thank you for continuing the journey of becoming young women of courage, confidence and character. Now let us eat GORP!

September 25, 2015 at 5:10 am 1 comment

Wise are those…

Wise are those who examine

the content of what’s passing through their awareness

to discover those subtle,

subliminal holdings

of which we would otherwise be unaware.

September 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

The Way Young Women Talk Today Makes Them Appear Weak & Uneducated? Really?

(Reprinted in part from The Guardian – Young Women, Give Up Your Vocal Fry and Reclaim Your Strong Female Voice. By Naomi Wolf.)

The most empowered generation of women ever – today’s twentysomethings in North America and Britain – is being hobbled in some important ways by something as basic as how they use their voices. This demographic of women tends to have a distinctive speech pattern. Many commentators have noticed it, often with dismay. Time magazine devoted a column to the mannerism called vocal fry, noting a study that found that this speech pattern makes young women who use it sound less competent, less trustworthy, less educated and less hireable: “Think Britney Spears and the Kardashians.”

“Vocal fry” is that guttural growl at the back of the throat, as a Valley girl might sound if she had been shouting herself hoarse at a rave all night. The less charitable refer to it privately as painfully nasal, and to young women in conversation sounding like ducks quacking. “Vocal fry” has joined more traditional young-women voice mannerisms such as run-ons, breathiness and the dreaded question marks in sentences (known by linguists as uptalk) to undermine these women’s authority in newly distinctive ways. Slate notes that older men (ie those in power over young women) find it intensely annoying. One study by a “deeply annoyed” professor, found that young women use “uptalk” to seek to hold the floor.

Amy Giddon, director of corporate leadership at Barnard College’s Athena centre for leadership studies in New York, found in original research that “there is a disconnect between women’s confidence in their skills and abilities – which is often high – and their confidence in their ability to navigate the system to achieve the recognition and advancement they feel they deserve. Self-advocacy is a big part of this, and identified by many women in the study as the biggest barrier to their advancement.” In other words, today’s women know they can do great things; what they doubt – reasonably enough – is that they can speak well about those great things.

There's no power in talking with a vocal fry.

When you ask young women themselves what these destructive speech patterns mean to them, you get gender-political insights. “I know I use run-on sentences,” a 21-year-old intern at a university told me. “I do it because I am afraid of being interrupted.” No one has ever taught her techniques to refuse that inevitable interruption. “I am aware that I fill my sentences with question marks,” said a twentysomething who works in a research firm. “We do it when we speak to older people or people we see as authorities. It is to placate them. We don’t do it so much when we are by ourselves.”

What is heartbreaking about the current trend for undermining female voice is that this is the most transformational generation of young women ever. They have absorbed a feminist analysis, and are skilled at seeing intersectionality – the workings of race, class and gender. Unlike previous generations, they aren’t starting from zero. They know that they did not ask to be raped, that they can Slutwalk and Take Back the Night, Kickstarter their business ventures and shoot their own indie films on their phones – and that they deserve equal pay and access.

Which points to the deeper dynamic at play. It is because these young women are so empowered that our culture assigned them a socially appropriate mannerism that is certain to tangle their steps and trivialise their important messages to the world. We should not ask young women to put on fake voices or to alter essential parts of themselves. But in my experience of teaching voice to women for two decades, when a young woman is encouraged to own her power and is given basic skills in claiming her own voice then huge, good changes follow. “When my voice became stronger, people took me more seriously,” says Ally Tubis. “When people feel from your voice that you are confident, they will believe that you are smarter, and that you are better at what you do – even when you are saying the exact same thing.”

July 28, 2015 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

Innovation and Our Kids

I went to a workshop called Developing Future Innovators. I went for three reasons: (1) We are innately creative beings and much of our education system has been teaching the creativity right out of our children, (2) our world desperately needs innovators to develop solutions to our mounting global problems, and (3) by teaching our youth to innovate, on a personal level they garner agency and are not victims of circumstance but rather empowered to create a life that works for themselves.

About_PatronSaint_780pxAn innovator is not only someone who envisions, but someone who also creates a better world. Glen Tripp @GalileoLearning is not only an amazing innovator himself, but he is doing remarkable work at helping kids become innovators using a three-pronged approach.

First he works on Mindset — helping kids be visionaries and to believe in possibility, encouraging them to be courageous as they stretch themselves, focusing on being collaborative and appreciative of other’s ideas and expressions, teaching them determination to access perseverance, and guiding them to be reflective to improve themselves and their work.

Next he focuses on Knowledge — what do innovators need to understand? This element teaches kids to research, pick out key concepts and big ideas, use materials and tools as they test their ideas, and to develop empathy as they understand their audience and environment.

Lastly, he works on Process — developing processes to help innovators actually innovate; from identifying goals, to generating ideas, to design and then into the create-test-evaluate-redesign phase.

So how can we as parents and caregivers develop young innovators in our own homes?

  • diy-craft-station-for-kidsBy allocating your child’s time in ways that develop their innovative toolkit. This can include traveling to new places, reading books from far off lands, to what programs they get involved in after-school (remember over-schdueling is a killer of innovation so chose wisely), to my favorite…carving out a space in your home, garage or yard that is dedicated to building and creating. A space filled with paint and markers, hot glue guns and duct tape, cardboard and pizza cutters, recycled materials, even a drill and saw would be good — items and tools that can be used to spark imagination and most of all allow your kids a chance to get dirty!
  • By interacting with our kids in a manner that reinforces the Innovator Mindset. This is not praising their work, this is praising their behavior — compliment their dedication, their courageousness, their collaborative skills, how they turned an idea into a reality. This is not asking default questions, but asking reflective questions — who did you work with today, what was your vision for your project, tell me about it, what is and isn’t working in your design, what part was the most challenging, what part did you like best?
  • By setting an example as an innovator yourself. Do you believe in possibility? Are you learning something new right now? Are you using victim language (I can’t, They never, It’s their fault, It’s not fair) instead of empowering words (I can, It’s my responsibility, I will put forth my best effort)? Kids, as we all know, learn so much from us, what supportive messages can you start sending today?

Lastly, I want to give you a few resources to check out. These are various programs and camps, workshop and projects to get your innovator juices flowing. Check out:

Project Lead the Way

Destination Imagination

Tech Challenge

Odyssey of The Mind

iphone-image-2First Lego League

Galileo Camps

Curiosity Hacked

July 22, 2015 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

Hospitality Is An Art

I recently read that hospitality is the art of making others feel welcome, comfortable, and at home. It’s the talent for spreading warmth and kindness that will always be remembered.

Pouring alcohol into shoe

This is my philosophy when it comes to gathering friends and family, this is what my work is based upon. I love that big companies like Chinet agree.

You know, being “social” is more than just liking, sharing and tagging in online social feeds. Chinet invites us to remember what being social used to mean. To me this is evidence that the art of hospitality may be making a come back. Enjoy their new TV campaign and remember to #besocial.

For ways to infuse hospitality into your parties that allow for connection and community, order The Enlightened Party Planner: Guides to Creating Parties From the Heart book series. Reading the first book, The Six Elements to a Successful Party, will provide you with an easy six-step recipe for making your guests feel special.

June 5, 2015 at 5:49 am Leave a comment

A Heartfelt Prayer to Mothers Around the World

Parent Connection series. Design composed of graceful profile lines of mother and child as a metaphor on the subject of parenting, motherhood, human connection and familyToday is the day when we pause to give a heartfelt thank you and prayer to the very special women in our lives who gave us the gift of life. Archangel Michael says, “Mothers are truly God’s co-creators and are to be revered.” So thank you moms all over the world for giving of yourselves, for your sacrifice, your guidance, your admiration, and your unconditional love. Your children are forever grateful. May you feel honored by your accomplishments that walk the earth and enjoy being celebrated on this glorious Mother’s Day. Amen.

May 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts

Shelby L. Phillips

As an intuitive transformational messenger of hope, a communicative wife of 25 years, and an open-hearted mother of two, I take pleasure in telling good news stories, connecting people to the seven dimensions of well-being, and inspiring us to love ourselves and each other because life really is worth celebrating! Find out more about me at


Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive notifications by email of new posts.

Join 252 other followers

Connect on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: