Blythe Conway is the best friend you want to have. We at Inner Rock are so lucky that she is part of our Middle School Girl Boss leadership camp this summer. Our summer intern sat down with Mrs. Conway to get to know her and share her wisdom and advice with you all. Learn more about Blythe, her unique work and background, and see what she has to say about our camps! If you’re on the fence about signing your daughter(s) up for our camps--- this will 100% give you some clarity… and will make you and your daughter want to say yes!
What is your role in these camps?
When Joni first approached me to co-lead, it was a position that would involve following Joni as she introduces the material and explaining the anteral, but also bringing me in as the component with the counseling background. I am a licensed child and adolescent psychotherapist for teens and children for the last 12 years. I’m passionate about bringing teen girls into counseling types of conversations and I have experience leading group therapy.
For me to come into Girl Boss Middle School virtual camp, it was really to help [Joni] co-lead, to bring in the emotional conversations, the counseling conversations, and to also tell the girls about my own experiences. My childhood was chaotic and not filled with the best memories. It’s healing for me to talk about that. There’s power in human connection. I wish I had had the lessons we taught the girls over this two-week camp. I craved that during their age and my gut always knew I was destined for something outside of my small town in Pennsylvania. I felt like I was always destined for world exploration and study--I craved more outside of my traditional blue collar family’s history. I always felt out of the norm so to speak and had interests in topics that no one in my family could explain. So I naturally seeked out women that were well traveled and educated and craved talking to these women to learn everything I could about how they did “it”.
Those conversations growing up are the catalyst for change or for sparks on your life path. It’s incredibly difficult to be 12 [years old], but to meet women who can share their success with you is pivotal. [By this age], you have already experienced what female energy is, how women compete and how girls can use each other for things, and you can start to lose hope that it is possible to have women in your life who will build you up and are happy when you are happy. To know that there are women like this to give you all of this information, it’s powerful. For me to see that I am a woman talking to the next generation up, I feel like I have the responsibility to be there to support them. Conversations can get uncomfortable, and I am there to help them. I wanted the girls to feel like this is the safe space, and for parents to know that I am licensed to take care of those conversations.
To know that there are women like this to give you all of this information, it’s powerful.
What is your current job?
I’ve been a yoga teacher for about 4 and a half years. I have had a yoga practice for 10+ years. [I got into yoga when] I was in graduate school, and I was not handling well with stress. I had met a religious leader who did personal one-on-one spiritual reading and he strongly recommended meditation and yoga for my overall health. I had always been an athlete, always playing sports, and in college I found yoga class too slow and boring! Little did I know I needed to do something other than the gym and run. Yoga is about digging deep about finding out more about who I am and to heal that part of me that needs to be taken care of by me. Look at my traumas, look at my pain. My unhealed wounds and sit with them. After graduate school for me/medical school for my soon-to-be husband, we moved to Texas and I found a great community of yoga teachers who helped me out there. I learned some of the language of sanskrit and all the amazing parts of yoga that you want to study as a student. I took all different types of classes, studied my diet and how it connected to my practice. I really dove in head first and found the connection to this inner work. I became certified in teaching once we moved here to Alexandria, Virginia. My specialty is to teach yoga to kids and teens. I teach at local schools/preschools, at studios, and I teach private lessons. I have taught yoga for all different organizations such as the Girls Scouts, the State Department, local non-profit events and more. My other job is with “Fit 4 Mom” in Alexandra as a certified group fitness instructor. We are a fitness team/community focused on mom and baby wellness and health and we provide a village for our “mama” community.
What have you loved most about being a part of the Girl Boss Middle School Camp (Session #1)?
It was the feeling that I got every morning knowing that we were about to meet. It was a group of twelve strangers coming together and hearing their thoughts. My favorite part of being a therapist is being able to hear kids’ thoughts and ideas. It was so great to be part of that energy. I am really passionate about creating villages and circles where women are coming together and working together. Watching that on the screen everyday, that was just my favorite thing, seeing the beginning of this energy coming to life.
We know that there are multiple ways to absorb and learn information: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning. And we know everyone is different in how they process information, so it was awesome to watch the different learning happening across the screen. The girls would come online, need to move their bodies and wiggle in their chairs. Sometimes they would take a break and walk around the room and yet when asked to answer they would all say great on-point things. It was a great reminder to us adults that teens are always absorbing info, just not necessarily the same way as adults. Teens have a brain that is actively still growing and maturing and they absorb through feeling and desire to move their bodies. Here at Inner Rock we honor and respect that. We love that about our teens!
Why should parents sign their daughters up for these camps?
This is going to be one of the most unique experiences regarding the information. Joni is a genius. She is a creative, intelligent woman caring so strongly about leadership. It’s amazing to be with a woman that’s vulnerable and uses her story with young women. She does all of this through the way she is teaching leadership and being a boss. It’s empowering to do the activities, and it’s impactful to share them with the group. The information the girls are learning is what Joni would give to her executive clients in seminars and large presentations.
The information the girls are learning is what Joni would give to her executive clients in seminars and large presentations.
I would also say the unique information about tuning in is another highlight. I love anything that bridges the learning gap between inner spirituality and outer community/connection to society. Because women are innate, emotional and spiritual creatures. We function off of those receptors on a daily basis. We know when something or someone feels off. We know when we feel “off” and sometimes we don’t know why if we haven’t been tuning inward to listen to the signs our body and mind are giving. If young women go into the world already able to read energy, know their roots, understand about the battery and energy-drainers, and understand spirituality-- this is the most well-rounded version of herself. Once this happens, your openness will draw others around you. You will be so comfortable in your skin that others want to be around you. We are not telling these girls that you have to have network connections and work people for what they can give you--instead we are teaching them that they need to know who they are inside. Do the work on the inside. See that class you are good at and topics you can’t stop thinking about? That is the beginning of your life purpose path. We teach them how to tune into yourself. So many people are walking around in a dissociated state, with their head detached from their bodies so to speak, floating through the motions of life. I can’t reiterate enough how super important it is to get this information young and how it benefits you everywhere and every day from the human experience to the workforce.
This is the beginning. We are a safe space for the groups. Our online community is welcoming. After 10 days of being together, conversations were organic and as a therapist, I have to say that’s impossible to force and hard to find with women--let alone in this current climate of quarantine and heightened stressors of society and world issues coming up. Our 12 year old girls were amazing and brought their “A” game.
When I teach teenage yoga, I intentionally teach 2 hour workshops because teenagers take a while to open up to talk and to share. Teens need to read the energy of the adults and of the room. They use their senses. They always walk into rooms asking themselves, “Are there consequences of me sharing?” [In the Inner Rock space], they can believe, “I know I can say this here. And there is no negative consequence of sharing that part of me here.” It’s a beautiful process.
After 10 days of being together, conversations were organic and as a therapist, I have to say that’s impossible to force and hard to find with women--let alone in this current climate of quarantine and heightened stressors of society and world issues coming up.
What would you say to 12-year-old girls who are embarking on this camp?
It’s okay to be nervous and shy. It’s okay to be unsure of the answers. What we want from you is a willingness to make mistakes. There are no wrong answers given. Share parts of yourself. Know that this is the type of support that I so wish I had when I was 12! These are invaluable conversations that you will remember for the rest of your life. From my own personal experiences, I know that when women spoke with me, shared their stories and helped me move forward on my life path, I don’t remember their words necessarily but I do remember how they made me FEEL.
Anything else you would like to share?
If this felt so great on Zoom, I can’t imagine how this would be in person! The in-person retreat is going to be out of this world! Joni and I believe in the power of exercise and moving our bodies to learn. All the activities planned for the retreats are dream activities to do (and fun for us moms, too!). The work online is already amazing so I can only imagine the in-person work taking up to the next degree.
You are wanted, you are heard, you are valued. We can’t wait to meet you!