The community’s contribution to this event made it possible for girls in Cortland to see themselves as we do.

Hosted by Tompkins Cortland Community College | Presented by EDF Renewables Homer Solar Energy Center

Katy Brockway, RNFA, of the Guthrie Cortland Operating Room, performing mock surgery with participant Leah Allen. (Career Fair)

On Saturday, March 4, 6-9th grade girls from the Cortland area came together to enjoy a unique day of activities designed to engage and motivate them in all aspects of their lives.

For the first time, Girls Day Out, hosted by Tompkins Cortland Community College, shifted its focus to girls in grades 6-9. This unique day of activities was held on March 4, 2023, just days before International Women’s Day. This year, the theme of International Women’s Day was to embrace equity. Thanks to an additional donation from our presenting sponsors that allowed us to offer free admission, we could do just that.

In the morning, the girls cleared their minds and found peace with Reiki Master Rhonda Giglio in a guided meditation session. After, they were able to listen and pose questions to inspiring women, Korrine Osterhoudt (social media influencer,) Mame Ndiaye (Ithaca College Assistant Director of New Student & Transition Programs,) and Mary Dykeman (retired health educator.) They learned about the panelists’ experiences and then discussed their potential life and career paths and how to navigate their lives today as tweens and teenage girls. Then, the girls attended an interactive career fair to partake in hands-on activities and speak with over 20 representatives from varying education and career paths. See the full list of career fair participants.

Chef Kuukua Yomekpe and participants putting the finishing touches on their West-African vegan stir-fry. (Cooking Demonstration)

After lunch, the girls participated in a cooking demonstration with Chef Kuukua Yomekpe, owner of the West African pop-up Asempe Kitchen. They prepared ingredients to cook a delicious vegan stir-fry!

In the afternoon, the girls rotated around science, music, and art activities. TC3 Lab Assistant Kristen Avery collected samples from a stream on campus earlier that morning. The girls learned how to classify the organisms from the samples using the naked eye and a microscope to test the water quality.

Board-certified music therapist, Melissa Simmons, taught the basics of playing the ukelele and showed the girls how fun and exciting but also therapeutic learning a musical instrument can be. Finally, local artist Molly Reagan challenged the girls to think of a symbol or icon representing their identity or something they would take from the day and doodle it on an art installation that will be displayed at the YWCA. The installation centers around equality, intersectionality, and the YWCA’s history of eliminating racism and empowering women and will act as an extension of the YWCA GEMS lobby mural project completed in 2021. Stop by the YWCA to check out the lobby mural and the new Girls Day Out art installation! 

At the end of the day, the girls jumped in the pool and had some fun with friends!

Participants looking for organisms from a stream sample to examine further and classify.
Participants doodling their symbols and icons on the art installation to be displayed at the YWCA.








Check out the full album of pictures on our Facebook!

2023 Girls Day Out Sponsors:

Platinum & Presenting Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

Asempe Kitchen

Beck Equipment

Josie’s Journey

Bronze Sponsors
James J. Baranello Law Office
Fadden & Associates P.T., PLLC
First National Bank of Dryden
Kiwanis Club of Cortland
NYCM Insurance
Perfetti Law Offices
Plan First Technologies
Sciarabba Walker & Co., LLP

Special thanks to YWCA Cortland’s 2023 Persimmon Partners: