Future Dreamers is the ultimate Girl Gang that supports girls to be themselves, try out new things, and live healthy active lives
Catherine Hardman studied Interior Design at RMIT in Melbourne and went on to run her own Interior Design business for 10 years. Catherine's 6 years at an all-girls school instilled in her the importance of strong female guidance and support and how inspiring it can be when girls are encouraged to pursue their dreams.
Leah Rettenmaier has a passion for philanthropic pursuits coupled with a love of the arts. After studying Fashion design at university, turned her hand to being a stylist, curating creative installations. During this time Leah was the director of the Scanlon Foundation, which supports social cohesion.
Q: Tell us about Future Dreamers.
Leah: Future Dreamers is a community safe haven for women and young girls, to help them explore their unbridled potential. We run a series of FREE workshops and mentoring sessions. The girls can choose what they want to be involved in, and explore different things they’ve never tried before. In the process, they get a stronger of sense of who they are and what they are interested in.
Cath: When we started Future Dreamers we looked at Byron Shire and saw so many amazing female entrepreneurs following their passions and doing things their own way. We just thought how amazing to connect them with the younger generation, so they could share their wisdom and skills with the girls.
Leah: We designed Future Dreamers as an antidote to small town boredom. We find that when the girls are engaged in something, and have a true sense of belonging, it is the best preventative to any problems that could come through ill-choosing.
Cath: We’ve had so many creatives running workshops; from painting, creative writing, illustrating, yoga, boxing, self-defence, everything you can possibly imagine. Byron is such a popular place to visit, so we have also had many amazing women travelling through come and facilitate workshops.
Q: How do you work with social influencers?
Leah: Social media influencers have such an amazing role in today’s society. The generation that the Future Dreamers girls are in believe the trusted people they follow on social media, far more than advertising. They seek out lifestyle choices and inspiration, inspiring them to express their own values as influencers and young women.
Cath: In Byron, there are a lot of influencers who have huge followings. We often have them in to do workshops, so that the girls can meet them in a physical space and see the person behind the little square and find out what’s real and what isn’t.
It’s a hard for young girls in the time of social media. How are they supposed to know what’s real and what isn’t? Often they follow people who are promoting a healthy lifestyle and all these other things, but they’re using 10 apps to make themselves look half the size? You think, oh lordy, it’s such a minefield, how do they navigate your way out of that, and how do they have a healthy relationship with social media?
Leah: We try to use social media in a really positive way, as a call to action. Future Dreamers has run some beautiful workshops around social media, where we invite the girls to tap into their own value systems and use social media as a way of expressing their true, authentic story, just as we do.
Cath: I think girls and people in general are just a bit sick of following influencers on Instagram that are promoting products they don’t necessarily believe in. Their followers want to see something more authentic and real, so they can connect with it. Luckily there are some amazing influencers who are doing just that here in Byron.
Q: How could Future Dreamers partner with brands?
Leah: I think brands can play an important role in young women’s empowerment by encouraging and supporting them to be their true, authentic selves. Also to believe in themselves, and to believe they have the potential to reach their goals. Brands have such a strong influence that can be used for good. If brands addressed the way they influence young women, it could be revolutionary.
Cath: I think brands are feeling the pressure to support causes, and the more that happens – the bigger the impact will be on society. All brands are going to have to head in that direction because that’s what is expected of them.
Leah: We’d really love to invite any brands or influencers or anyone who would really like to share our mission in empowering young women. From the bottom of our heart, we’d like to invite anyone who feels aligned with our message to share the vision and expand it further.
To find out more about Future Dreamers, visit their website: http://futuredreamers.com.au