Program inspires delegate to lead new initiative for girls at her middle school

Journey delegate Dulcey Comeau

For nearly 65 years, Maryland Leadership Workshops (MLW) has made it a priority to foster the growth of young leaders through its week-long summer programs. And with the support provided by the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, MLW’s Journey program provides a unique opportunity for middle school girls in Howard County to recognize and develop their leadership skills, while empowering other girls to do the same.

Dulcey Comeau, an 8th grader at Elkridge Landing Middle School, is one of many girls who has experienced the personal growth that Journey encourages. She has participated in the program for the past two summers, after it was recommended by one of her teachers. Both Dulcey and her parents thought Journey would be a great way to foster her natural leadership skills, and she says the perspective and skills she’s gained from the experience have been life changing.

“Journey has helped me a lot in school, because I’m more comfortable talking in front of people. I used to worry about talking in front of people and being wrong, but now I have a whole lot more confidence,” she says. “It’s helped me with group projects, too. Now I don’t feel as much pressure to do all the work, because I know I can either lead the group, or encourage someone else to lead the group, and let everyone have an opportunity to share the work.”

Dulcey is now applying these group leadership skills at her school, where she is now a founding member and president of a new Girl Up Club. A nationwide program turned global movement, Girl Up Clubs empower adolescent girls to work together to make a positive difference in the lives of other girls in their communities and around the world.

“My resource teacher talked to me and my friend about starting a Girl Up Club, so we went to a starter event to learn more about it, and we really liked the idea,” she says. “They explained that Girl Up Clubs do a project every year to help and benefit someone. I really like giving back to those who are less fortunate than me, and this is a way I can do that, in school, while teaching other girls how to do it, too.”

The new Girl Up Club at Elkridge Landing Middle School currently has 17 members, including four leaders. The club has held four meetings since the beginning of the school year, and recently decided their first community service project will be a drive to collect supplies for the homeless. Dulcey’s biggest hope for the club is that it will continue to succeed after she moves on to high school.

“I really want the incoming 8th graders to step into the president and vice president roles so they can get an idea of what it’s like to be a leader, too,” she says. “I hope they learn how it feels to help others so they’ll keep doing it, even outside of the club.”

Dulcey believes the lessons she’s learned in her Journey workshops have helped prepare her to take on this leadership role with her Girl Up Club.

“One of the biggest skills that I’ve learned is how to lead from behind. I’ve always been very forward and in front, so I’ve learned how to push others forward, ask their perspectives, and give them an opportunity to talk instead of doing it all by myself,” she said.

Looking ahead, Dulcey is planning to complete her third year at Journey this summer, and she recommends the program to other girls who want to be leaders but might not have the confidence or the communication skills yet.

“I think a lot of girls could benefit from Journey,” she says. “A lot of girls want to be leaders but go about it in the wrong way. Journey is a great opportunity to learn how to lead – plus it gives you a new perspective on a lot of things, and it really helps your confidence.”

To learn more about Journey or to apply for the Summer 2020 program, visit