The Young Women’s Discovery Society (YWDS) is managed by a Board of Directors, who volunteer their time to create and provide programs for young women to become confident, responsible, inspired and live authentic lives.
The needs and desires of girls today, as well as the vision and mission of the YWDS, are our guides. We are dedicated to expand and build this organization beyond our lifetimes. Our focus is to create transformational, fun and educational leadership weekends and programs. Another mandate is to offer a YWDS subsidy for young women to further their post-secondary goals, attend events and follow their life aspirations.
Members of the Board
Marielle Smith, Founder, Director, Facilitator
As one of the original co-founders and leaders of a 1997 “higher purpose” project called ‘The Young Women’s Weekend’, the experience left me with a profound desire to create something for and with young women. My dream came true by creating an organization whose legacy will provide the space for young women to harness their potential as leaders and empower them to live authentically. Young women of today are influenced by so many things, especially the media and their peers. My intention for this Society is to produce events that allow girls to embrace who they are – leaders with self-confidence and young women who trust in themselves. They are precious to our world….and they are our future. Part of my life purpose is to give girls the space to be heard, a place to learn, the freedom to discover who they are, and an opportunity to live their dreams.
Belinda Leppa, Director, Facilitator
I believe that part of my life’s purpose is to guide young women to their greatness and help them discover what lights the fire within. There is nothing more fulfilling for me than to watch young women blossom before my eyes and feel the excitement as they radiate their newly discovered awareness of self. To follow is easy, to lead takes courage. I am amazed at the courage of the girls that attend our weekends; they inspire and teach me lessons of Self beyond anything I could have imagined. I feel honoured to be in their presence.
Malinda Poe-Allanson, Director
I have been a supporter and volunteer of YWDS and the Weekends since 2004. I am thrilled to be a part of this organization because I am a strong believer that young women can make changes happen in this world, if given the leadership and empowerment they need to achieve their dreams and aspirations. YWDS supports young women and also gives them a “place” at the weekends to freely explore who they truly are; that they leave with a new found confidence, understanding and outlook on their lives.
With my work on numerous projects, events and productions plus my vast experience in publicity and media relations, event management and planning, corporate communications and marketing, my intention is to use my extensive background to assist the YWDS in building it’s foundation.
As a mother of 2 children, I want my children to learn to have compassion for others and to one day be able to give back to their passionate causes.
I am excited to help make a difference in YWDS and inspire the lives of these incredible young women.
Petra Harvey, Director, Facilitator
I chose to become part of the YWDS in 2007 to find a platform to help girls during one of the most important milestones in their lives – being a teen.
After going through the ranks of the Girl Scouts of America for 10 years, I felt the need to contribute to an organization that places great emphasis on creating an open forum for teenage girls to feel safe, open up, and find out that we all need to dream and there is no limit to how those dreams can be manifested. They give to me just as much as I take away from these special retreats, and more.
Jason Smith, Director, Manager
As the sole male in this troop, I am often distanced from and uninvolved in the specifics and details of producing the weekend, although I manage the men’s team that participates during a critical part of the event. I am, however, acutely aware of my love, duty and obligation to the women in my life and the young women that choose to embrace this weekend. As old fashion or cliché as it sounds, I hold close to my heart the sense of duty and honour that a man has for the women in his life. It is from this place that I hold the YWDW and the young women it impacts.