Although New York is expecting record snowfall in the next 24 hours, eight young women from Arizona, Utah and Idaho are bringing a downpour of ideas they will share on Tuesday, March 14, at 4 p.m. — rain, snow or shine.
The young women, ages 16-19, are members of Big Ocean Women, a faith-based grassroots organization based in Utah that promotes faith, family and motherhood. The group has been attending the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations for three years, and this is the first time they are bringing youth ambassadors.
“We are excited for our associates at the U.N. to meet these strong young women and hear their views of womanhood,” says Carolina Allen, founder of Big Ocean Women.
The youth delegation arrived on Friday and attended the Youth Forum on Saturday inside the U.N. Several of the girls made comments and asked questions during the “Youth, Faith and Feminism” discussion in the main floor assembly room.
“From having spiritual conversations and going to church, I have learned that I am powerful beyond measure,” youth ambassador Taryn Royall told the attendees in the session. “I know I have potential and I just need to tap into it by empowering myself and by doing the things my God wants me to do.”
All eight girls will be speaking at Tuesday’s event, which will be in the Manhattan Room in the One UN Hotel (directly across from the U.N. headquarters). The event will also be streamed via Facebook Live on the Big Ocean Women page, starting at 4 p.m. ET (which is 2 p.m. MST).
“I’m here to learn about the important issues that will impact me,” says Candace Brown, a high school junior from Provo. “The topics here are giving me insight on what my future daughters will deal with, and I want to be ready and I want to make a difference.”
The young women will be speaking on the eight tenets of Big Ocean:
- We believe in God and are women of faith.
- We are empowered by our feminine nature and biology, and we honor our pro-creative power.
- We are each unique and innately worthy of respect.
- We seek after knowledge and wisdom.
- We are free to choose and willingly accept responsibility for our choices.
- We reach out and serve in our homes, communities, and the world.
- We follow our conscience in speaking and acting with integrity.
8) We value the irreplaceable role of fathers and build interdependent relationships with men.
“In my presentation on seeking knowledge and wisdom, I’ll be sharing how my grandma’s experiences have impacted me and helped me to see the importance of education for women,” says Madeleine Arnold, a BYU freshman from Highland. “I’ve met so many incredible and passionate people here at the UN, and despite our different backgrounds, we’re all here to learn and affect change.”
The young women were selected out of 70+ applicants and have been learning and training for the past three months, including a meeting with LDS leader Ardeth Kapp, who originated the Young Women values within the LDS Church (which the Big Ocean tenets are based upon). While in New York, the group has met with groups such as the National Council of Women, LDS Public Affairs, and C-FAM.
“It is fascinating to watch other UN attendees be drawn to our young women,” says Kim Bohne Landeen, a youth delegation leader and board member of Big Ocean Women. “These girls are articulate, kind, intelligent and they portray the values they are speaking about. These experiences will continue to shape their lives as they think through the complicated topics of gender, religious freedom and feminism.”
Hannah Butcher, a high school senior from Arizona, says she came to learn about complex issues and “to promote the empowerment of women and the sustainable family.”
In addition to the youth presentation, Big Ocean is hosting an event at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time titled “The Work of Maternal Feminism: Reproductive Work, Care Work, and Community Work.” This presentation will also be broadcast on Facebook Live via the Big Ocean Women Facebook page.
Jeanette Bennett is the youth ambassador director for Big Ocean Women.