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Girls for a Change Summit held in Bozeman

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BOZEMAN - It was a day of empowerment for young women in Montana at the Thrive organization’s Girls for a Change Summit.

For more than a decade, the non-profit Thrive has hosted the Girls for a Change Summit, an event that invites young women from across the state for a day of knowledge and empowerment, with a different theme each year.

More than 100 girls from grades 8 through 12 gathered at Montana State University’s Strand Union building on Saturday and took part in group activities, building relationships and learning new skills along the way.

The event also featured several keynote speakers, women whose ideas have paved the way for younger generations to someday leave their mark on society.

"Our mission is to inspire the next generation of female leaders,” said Greta Moore, the program coordinator for Girls for a Change at Thrive. “We just really believe that young people have a really powerful voice and not always the platform to share what they're feeling and thinking."

Girls who attended the summit participated in activities from dumpling making to screen printing, all with the theme "Grow Your Day Dreams," which aims to get the girls out of their comfort zones and thinking about their futures.

"It's all about having some sort of idea or inspiration when you're young, and then growing that into something that you can make a career or a life path,” Moore said. “Our goal here at the summit is just to expose girls to things that they've never done before, and really just get them excited about trying new things and meeting new people and hearing different perspectives.”

Some of the young women who attended the event say it's more important now than ever for women to lift each other up.

"Especially in our social and political climate right now, I think it's really important for girls to be together and understand that they can be just as empowered as everyone else and stand together all diverse,” said Vivian Soucie, a 9th-grader at the event.

Sally Coffman, a Bozeman High 10th-grader, said it’s the atmosphere that makes the summit so inspiring.

"I just thought it'd be really interesting because there's a lot going on in the world, and I think it's really important for girls to stand out,” Coffman said. “I just really enjoy the environment and everybody here just wants to be here and it's really fun.”

The event wrapped up around just after five in the afternoon, with more than 200 people attending in total.

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