Phab girls took to the runway last week for their third annual season wrap-up fashion show, but even more than the duct tape and newspaper dresses, it was their confidence that was on display.
“The fashion show was a huge success,” said Emma Harper, one of Phab’s co-ordinators and the recreation programmer for the municipality. “It was the largest turnout for girls and I’m pretty sure this is the biggest audience we’ve had too.”
The program focuses on helping girls between nine and 12 years old with confidence, friendship and team work, meeting once a week after school on Wednesdays for various activities related to cooking, crafts, and sports. Harper said that earlier in the year when she pondered doing something else to close the program, she was rebuffed by girls who had already started planning their dresses in January.
“Everyone seemed to have a really good time,” she said. “It seems to go smoother every year. This year it was a bit more grounded… it was planned throughout the year.”
The girls worked in groups to design and create their dresses made from duct tape and newsprint, and while only one per group got to model the garment, whole teams had a chance to walk the runway set up in the Catholic church basement last Thursday.
“My favourite part was making friends, working as a team and making the duct tape dresses,” said Brenna Beck backstage before the show.
“The best thing about Phab was the great experiences, working with friends and having fun,” added Jenna Demarcke.
Brianna Goodwin, who participated in the show last year as well, said one of her favourite things about Phab was that it was a place where school troubles could be left behind.
“I like when I get to know more about people, make friends, and especially that there’s no fighting,” she said.
There are plans to expand the program to include a second group for older girls in the fall, backed by popular demand from the girls who have aged out in the last few years. While the second phase has yet to be finalized, Harper said she plans to do more of the same with the current program next year.
“There are a lot of options,” she said. “We run with what comes up from the community.”
Examples of activities include hair styling, cooking, crafts and more sports. Harper also said she looks forward to partnering with organizations like the friendship centre and Ecology North to broaden the scope of activities available to the girls.
While the fashion show was no doubt the highlight of the year, the girls have two more outings planned before the program wraps up for the summer – one to Growing Together, and a final picnic at Tri-Service Park June 11.
“It’s been really cool,” said Harper. “This is the third year we do it and it’s been great to see the girls coming back and to see new faces too.”