Nancy Lemon's “Girls With Confidence” workshops help young women learn how to communicate and develop positive relationships. NANCY LEMON
By LAURA CONE The Brandon News
Published: April 10, 2013
Updated: April 10, 2013 at 08:13 AM
Nancy Lemon, who has lived in FishHawk Ranch for a decade, decided to put her skills as a corporate trainer to work with a younger audience. She developed the “Girls with Confidence: Helping Girls Develop Positive Self-Esteem for a Lifetime,” workshop series for girls who are struggling with everything from body image to cyberbullying. For many of the classes, that are held at Lamb of God Lutheran Church and Osprey Clubhouse in FishHawk, she has the girls get into a circle. They start out with an ice-breaker or play a game to open up for the topic or theme. “It's about me getting girls to share with each other what has worked for them in their situation,” said Lemon, who facilitates the discussions. “I will give advice, but I'm the last one to give advice. I want them to learn from each other and learn on their own; then they can have an 'A Ha' moment.”
Lemon, who has a son, Jake, 13, said she recently launched her “Girls with Leadership” program for middle and high school students. Members of the class create vision boards. They learn about different personality styles, strategies for dealing with stress and communication skills. Instead of pointing fingers, the girls learn to use “I statements,” such as “When you do this, I feel this way.” “It's all about relationships,” Lemon said. “It's all about how you communicate and present yourself. It's about being open and talking about your feelings.” Her manners/etiquette and body image classes are also popular. Lemon can personally relate to girls who struggle with their body image. She helps them accept how they look. “My background is one where I had a challenging relationship with my mom growing up,” she said. “We didn't communicate very well. I always felt like I didn't have support from her. I started an eating disorder.” Lemon said a lot of parents don't realize that their children will internalize the careless comments they make about their own appearance. “My mom didn't have an eating disorder, but she was like many moms are obsessed with their weights, talking out loud about how fat she was when really she wasn't,” she said. “That has stuck with me over the years.” Lemon said she thinks it's important for moms to know their daughters hear everything adults say including the negative self-talk. “I personally feel like moms are so busy and that they get their kids in a thousand different activities that they get overloaded and stressed out,” she said. “They subconsciously don't realize but that stressed is being pushed onto their daughters.” Lemon hosts camps, one-time events as well as classes that typically meet once a week for four weeks. In addition to her work as a corporate trainer and developer of a variety of curriculum- based confident programs, Lemon is an instructor in leadership and communication for Polk State College. Lemon, 47, said she helps girls learn how to deal with exclusion or being left out a clique as well as understand qualities of a good friend. “For middle school girls, the added component there today that wasn't there before was social networking,” she said. “Daughters are pulling away from their families sooner and distancing themselves because parents have allowed them to get these (social networking) accounts.” For more information on Girls with Confidence, call (813) 571-2002 or visit girlswithconfidence.com.