One of our favourite Australian spots, Byron Bay, is the catalyst for Future Dreamers, a Girls Club for those aged between 12-25 in the Byron community.
Future Dreamers aims to empower girls to pursue their dreams, by arming them with tools they need to succeed through workshops and other events.
As one of the seven finalists of our Female Empowerment Grant, we sat down with Esther Paige to hear more…
What is Future Dreamers and when did it begin?
Future Dreamers is an inspirational, creative hub for young girls, aged between 12-25. We provide a safe space for creativity and inspiration with workshops, events, mentoring… really anything! It’s also a space where they can get to know themselves and what they look for in their lives, whether it be in the present day or in the future.
So, it may not look like it but there’s four screaming ladies inside of me wanting to come out. And those as the cofounders. So, there is Leah, Cath, Grace and Asuka.
They are really amazing role models in the community. Three of them have kids and they were inspired by the melting pot of creativeness and beautiful souls in Byron. Leah has two girls and they were coming into adolescence, which is a really huge stage of their lie. At that point, the idea of creating a hub for young girls as a way to inspire and build a community connection and establish positive pathways came to life!
What’s the vision of Future Dreamers?
The vision of Future Dreamers is to not only empower girls but in doing so, give them a sense of identity, support, community and vision!
What does female empowerment mean to Future Dreamers in the context of Byron Bay both being such a beautiful place, but also sometimes having an element of displacement?
Byron is a beautiful environment and it does attract a lot of people – some stay, some don’t – and so there is also a very transient community, in a way that’s probably where the displacement comes from.
There are a lot of different cultures in Byron, and a melting pot for different societies and creatives which is amazing.
We want these girls to be empowered and have a positive view in and around these influences, and choose the right one that can work for them in a positive way.
How are you empowering young girls?
We run workshops nearly every day of the week, on a regular term basis. For example, on Mondays we have FDTV which is a group of girls who get together with a local videographer. These girls are like 14-16 years old, so it’s really cool to see them answering questions and talk about topics which might be a bit sensitive in quirky ways to make it more relatable for their peers and for people watching.
On Tuesdays we have a study session, with a tutor, where we invite the girls to the Club House to study or have some quite time. It’s a great time to catch up and a space for them to recognise as a safe space.
We’ve got so many it’s endless!
On Thursdays, we run a series of workshops called Creative Expressions, mainly around the arts – songwriting, poetry for example – which are facilitated by this amazing woman Carly Lorente who has this beautiful way of breaking the ice with the girls. They have created some really raw pieces in regards to bullying, self-esteem, and confidence that are, in an adolescent life, probably the main things that control everything about what they do and who they are. Right now, we are running one alongside the Byron Bay Writers Festival.
Why did Future Dreamers get involved in our Female Empowerment Grant?
We applied for this Grant because social innovation is quite big in Byron and in Australia in general. It’s a really exciting thing and we’re lucky enough to be in an environment where heaps of people are on board with it.
We want to establish a workplace, well a work system for these girls, where they can have an outlet and also learn skills for the future. We hope to do this with the Caravan Café!
What is Caravan Café?
Well at the moment we have a shell of a caravan at the front of our Club House and we have numerous girls wanting to make it into the workplace.
The Caravan Café would be just that, a caravan café and a platform for these young girls to have the opportunity to gain workplace experience. This would be an amazing opportunity as a lot of the girls find it difficult to gain work experience in the Byron Shire. The whole community can come together and benefit it.
So really this is a step in social innovation and a platform for these girls.
What is the importance in providing support for teenagers and young women between the ages of 12-25?
The adolescent period, which research shows now goes to 25 and their brain is still developing like an adolescent, is extremely important. It’s a vulnerable time and is also a very really exciting time because there’s lots of development and change happening.
It’s an amazing opportunity for these young girls to grasp the talent and passion they have and work out their niche and identity. Adolescence is a crazy period of change so it’s important to offer guidance in a fun and non-interfering way.
Are there any other plans for Future Dreamers to help girls Australia-over?
YES, absolutely! Future Dreamers is going to take over Australia, it’s going to be international!
We have huge plans and want to do pop up workshops in Sydney and Melbourne this coming Easter and want to collaborate and partner with other youth organisations. We are an organisation that is so broad and open-minded and are so passionate and have such a passionate message and a fun quirkiness about us, that we feel we can achieve… well just get the word out to girls everywhere!
Photo of Esther courtesy of Your Creative taken in the TOM office garden.