PART ONE: The Flourish Journey Facilitator Georgie Mason On Building A Resilient Future For Teens

by Georgie Mason
29 January 2024

As an advanced facilitator at The Flourish Journey, I’ve had the privilege of spending the past two years delivering preventative mental health and emotional intelligence workshops to over 4,000 teenage girls and gender diverse teens across Victoria. In this three-part series, I explore and share some of my our learnings, insights, and advice.

The Flourish Journey’s full-day workshops provide a safe space for young people to build their self-confidence, social connection, contribute to healthy relationships and become leaders for themselves and their communities. We do this through play, storytelling and by providing young people with the opportunity to courageously share what’s really happening in their lives.

Ultimately, as facilitators we aim to create and hold a safe environment for young people to share what’s really going on for them below the surface, while equipping them with tools to help them become more resilient and empowered. As an organisation, we have engaged with over 20,000 teenage girls and gender diverse teens.

“As an organisation, we have engaged with over 20,000 teenage girls and gender diverse teens since our inception.”

Alongside my ongoing role as a facilitator, I have recently stepped into the position of Partnerships Coordinator at Flourish. This role has been an exciting opportunity for me to share my passion and knowledge for youth mental health with the broader community, whilst providing ongoing support for our facilitator team.

There is truly so much about being at The Flourish Journey that is rewarding, but I feel that the beauty of this role is highlighted for me when I get to spend time with young people, hearing their stories and watching them grow as they challenge themselves to express who they really are.

It is incredibly fulfilling as a facilitator to have young people approach me and ask for support. When I have created a safe space for someone to share what is challenging them, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that I have been able to make them feel heard and connect them with ongoing support.

Having engaged with thousands of teenagers since our first program, our team knows that providing an opportunity for young people to be authentic, realise that they are not alone, and receive support is essential for their ongoing wellbeing and safety.

At Flourish, building this resilience within the next generation begins with our facilitators understanding, remembering and sharing our own experiences of being a teenager.

As confronting as it can be to hear some of the challenges that young people are facing today, it is always an honour to know that young people trust us to share and support them in vulnerable moments. It is a privilege to know that the more than 20,000 young people we have engaged with are now better equipped to deal with their challenges than they were prior to our workshops.

Alongside the moments where I get to bear witness to stories, being able to witness connection and trust flourish in a room of young people is also incredible.

Within our Level 1 programs, we provide an opportunity for participants to share for the first time with their peers what they judge themselves for and what impact this has on them. At a recent workshop I led, a young girl shared that she judged herself for not looking “good enough” while she played sport, leading to restrictive behaviours and a decision to stop participating in an activity that she loves.

Immediately following this admission, everyone else in the room began to share their own similar stories and challenges, while offering their support for this young person. As a group of 40 teenagers, they agreed to support this young girl as she bravely made the decision to begin re-engaging with the sport she loves.

These moments of courageous vulnerability, met with support and care will always give me goosebumps.