Here Today, Where Tomorrow?
BY BARBARA LEEK AND JANE DALTON
Here Today... Where Tomorrow? is an annual program for young females, initiated in 1985. It was conceived , and developed in response to the voices of women enrolled in college level career change programs, such as Women Into Trades & Technology and Introduction to Non-Traditional Occupations. These women described a lifetime lack of practical learning experiences and work opportunities that provided both satisfaction and financial (independence. It was also a response to the voices of women who were working in education at various levels, as members of Women Teachers' Associations and as college faculty. These women (privileged by virtue of their professional status) heard, observed, or personally experienced other women's life-world concerns and felt a commitment and the capability to respond.
At a meeting of representatives from Simcoe County Women Teachers Association and from Georgian College after a 1984 international conference in Montreal on the status for Girls, the concept of Here Today... Where Tomorrow? was formed. Our program focus and design were influenced by other initiatives predominately in urban centers, such as event days sponsored by Boards of Education to encourage girls' exploration and consideration of applied science and math-related occupations, and Open Doors, a community-based mentor program developed of the Ontario Women's Directorate.
The format and objectives of Here Today... Where Tomorrow? have evolved over the five years since its inception. In 1985 the primary objective was to provide an opportunity in which young females could broaden their horizons and discover more about themselves through involvement with industrial project-based tasks. One hundred elementary students from across the county came to a local college for a one day event featuring a dynamic female guest speaker (a successful entrepreneur), small group discussions with female mentors from a variety of occupations, and a series of hands-on project-based workshops and demonstrations in wood, metal, and electrical.
To enable the continuity and delivery of this program an infrastructure had to be created. A Program Committee was established with representation from the principal sponsors - Women Teachers' Associations, Georgian College, and participating school boards.