G*rls Rock! Conferences & Awards

History of G*rls Rock!

In 1998, Hardy G*rls Healthy Wom*n hosted the first annual Girls Rock! Conference – an opportunity for girls of all ages to come together to meet one another, be inspired, learn media literacy skills, and think critically about messages they get about body image and relationships. Participants also had opportunities to create their own media. In its second year, Girls Rock! brought even more girls from the greater Waterville area together to experience coalition, violence prevention, critical thinking, and ways to create the world they want for all girls.

In 2008, Hardy Girls added the Girls Rock! Awards. This event recognizes girls from around the state who are doing brave and daring things to better our communities.


Girls Rock! Conferences take place annually in Bangor, Portland and Waterville. The conferences are designed to support 4th-8th grade girls and gender expansive youth, and they’re entirely planned and executed by the high schoolers on the Girls Advisory Board (GAB). GAB members self-select topics that are relevant to Maine g*rls and spend several months developing content for the workshops that they facilitate on conference day. In addition to the workshops and presentations, attendees are able to gain valuable skills by participating in our action spot stations.

The GR!C gives girls and gender expansive youth the opportunity to connect and build coalition; 200-300 Maine girls and their adult supporters attend each year. It’s a great opportunity for the younger attendees to learn from, and be inspired by, the teenagers who are making positive contributions in their schools and communities. GR!C is a fun-filled day of learning, sharing, growing, and g*rl-powered activism!

Registration for the 3 conference locations opens in January. Lunch, t-shirts and feminist fun included!

“Before today, I didn’t know
that we can do the same as men/boys.”
8th Grader
Massabesic Middle School

How You Can Help!

To make the conferences as accessible as possible, we rely on donors and sponsors to supplement ticket costs.
Please email us out for more information about donation and sponsorship opportunities.

Bring girls to the conferences! Adults who accompany girls to the conferences are welcome to join professional development sessions while the girls are in workshops. Past topics have included self-care, “Moving Beyond Mean Girls,” and Cultivating Hardiness Zones.


If you belong to a local organization that promotes activism, consider setting up an “action spot” at one of more of our conferences. Action spots offer attendees opportunities to practice taking action (e.g. writing letters to government officials; designing awareness-raising buttons & signs; and learning about community initiatives). Please email us if you’d like to host an action spot!


The G*rls Rock! Awards, hosted entirely by our Girls Advisory Board, is an annual evening event that recognizes 9- to 19-year-old girls and gender expansive youth who use their brilliance to make a positive impact in their communities in Maine. Over the years, we’ve honored g*rls for taking action and making an impact on issues related to: public health (Health Promoter award); Sexual Harassment and Gender Equity (Title IX Champion award); disparities in STEM (STEMgineer award); racial, economic, and social inequality (Community Organizer award); and more!

In addition to honoring and amplifying the work of these change-makers, we host an inspirational keynote speaker and invite community members from around the state to come listen, support, connect, and inspire one another. This event draws an audience of 200 annually that includes statewide nominees and 150+ community members.

The GR!A is a wonderfully inspiring event and is a great way to share our work with the larger community. The energy of the evening propels our mission to amplify and celebrate the brilliance of girls and gender expansive youth forward. Funds raised from the GR!A support our statewide, year-round programming.

It was wonderful to be in a room filled with strong, intelligent, and empowered girls. For [my daughter], she was most excited about feeling so supported by caring people. [My husband] and I both felt a sense of relief and hope that the next generation will be bold and relentless. Equally important, we were thrilled that both [our daughter] and our boys got to hear from and be with girls willing to work for change, equality and ultimately a better society. Needless to say, our whole family left the event feeling excited and impressed. [Our daughter] is already looking forward to participating in your programs once she is in the 4th grade!
Mother of a former G*rls Rock! Award Winner

How You Can Help!

To make the conferences as accessible as possible, we rely on donors and sponsors to supplement ticket costs.
Please email us out for more information about donation and sponsorship opportunities.


The Host Committee for the G*rls Rock! Awards plays an important role in the success of the event. Most importantly, they act as ambassadors for HGHW by spreading the word about HGHW and encouraging their friends and family to attend GR!A. In addition, their financial contributions enable us to offer free tickets to girls who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to attend GR!A, and of course their donations are critical to achieving our fundraising goal for the event.

Know a young person
(girls and gender expansive folks only, please) who is doing incredible things in Maine?
We want to highlight their work.

Tell us about them at https://hghw.org/nominate

Watch videos from past GR!A ceremonies here. Check out photos from 2018’s event here.

For announcements about all things GR!A and Hardy G*rls, sign up for our e-updates.


GR!A20 Sponsors

Interested in 2021 sponsorship opportunities? Please email Kelli McCannell at kelli@hghw.org