The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs

The Problem

We are military teen girls. Our community is filled with war, unity, uncertainty, and pride. Just as the nation felt the drastic affects of September 11, 2001, the fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters rose up in arms to protect the nation. But what happened to those left behind? Did the media put a spot light on the internal and external harms of war on military teenage girls? The military community feels the shocks every time a bomb drops, the earth quakes, the tornado rises, and the waves crash upon cities. Therefore, military girls feel the side affects of war, terrorism, and natural disasters because we are left at home; forced to go through the challenges of high school and growing up without a mother, father, brother, or sister. Wow, sounds like a major problem doesn’t it? A problem so severe would surely be addressed by the media and the overall public wouldn’t it? The affects of deployment on teenage girls are real; failing classes, depression, lack of confidence, moodiness, eating disorders, and cutting are real dangers. No, our problems are ignored; written off as normal teen angst. However, there is nothing normal about going through the motions of everyday life while your father is God knows where being shot at by terrorists. There is nothing normal about worrying if your dad will even recognize you after he returns home for a long deployment. There is nothing normal about falling asleep without knowing if your loved one is okay; or better yet, even alive. There is nothing normal about father missing his own daughter’s birthday because he is off protecting freedom. However, all of the afore mentioning harms of deployment are becoming common place within the lives of the thousands of military girls across California. We are in your classrooms, neighborhoods, and shopping malls. We may look like you; going to school, participating in sports, hanging out at movies, but we mask many emotional hurts unseen by society as a whole.

Plan of Action

The problem is real, but the solution is possible. Representing tens of thousands of military girls across the California, two military teens are creating a change. Kaylei Deakin, an Army teen, and myself, Moranda Hern, an Air Force teen, are passionate about leaving a legacy of helping other military girls who walk in our boots. The change is this: create a conference to bring military girls together to share their struggles, triumphs, and experiences. Furthermore, create a network of social bonds between military girls across the state. Our project, The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs, will do just that. The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs will bring together 500 military girls from across the state for the first ever weekend conference for military girls to build self esteem, grow in leadership, build up their communities, and empower one another in sisterly support. The first conference took place on March 12-14, 2010 in Clovis, CA. Our first conference was a complete success. We had 100 military girls in attendance and 15 female service members as mentors. The girls bonded beyond what we ever imagined. They shared there stories with each other about how they felt during deployments. The girls felt so relieved to know they are not alone. Their stories impacted everyone in a way I will never be able to verbalize. Military girls need the Sisterhood. They deserve the Sisterhood, they need the Sisterhood. Our parents serve this country. Military girls serve too, here at home. Think about the big picture. The conference will inspire military girls to come and lead their communities. The mantra for this event is, "UNITE, INSPIRE, LEAD." The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs does just that; bring military girls facing indescribable struggles together; inspire them with the tools to enrich their own lives, the lives of their families, and the lives of those in their communities; and to lead the Sisterhood into the next generation of change. Furthermore, this conference is the beginning of change across the nation. Our goal has always been to go nationwide by 2011. Now, we are making that happen. 2011 we will expand the Sisterhood in encompass 5 other conferences across the country. Then, in 2012, we'll expand to five more. Each year growing in our impact and giving military girls a chance to lead. The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs will impacts hundreds of thousands of military girls across the United States for years to come. Military girls deserve a voice and we're giving them one. Go Team Sisterhood!

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