The North Star program consists of 22 art sessions, each linked with one of the 7 components of self-esteem and one or more quotes and questions to facilitate discussion. Two adult facilitators provide initial guidelines, explain the rules, monitor each gathering, assure adherence to the principles and rules of North Star, provide backup, and assist each other in planning for and evaluating each session.
There should be no more than 10 girls per group, as the size dictates the intimacy and confidentiality of the group both of which are crucial to the success of the program.
North Star may be incorporated as a school based or school linked program either as part of the school curriculum (perhaps as part of the health curriculum), or as an after school program or a club program. It may is also be appropriate as part of the school counseling curriculum.
The North Star program can be implemented through a variety of formats:
- The short course would meet for 3 or 4 weeks of 1 to 1 ½ hour sessions per week.
- The longer course could meet for 8 weeks of 2 hour sessions per weeks.
- The third format would be to run the program for one week, meeting daily for 4-5 hour sessions.
The importance of the Talking Stick is a symbol of respect and commitment to the group, a custom borrowed from the Native American tradition that assures respect for the individual. Whoever holds the stick is the only person allowed to speak. Each girl gives her “signature” of confidentiality and support to the group symbolically by tying onto the stick a natural trinket such as a shell, stone or feather.
Each session is carefully designed to integrate the question, the quote, and the art activity. There is always a theme to the session, and all themes connect with one of the components of self-esteem.
The Animal Cards are an integral part of North Star. Native American culture relates strongly to animals in the wild. Girls explore their own personalities and how they, as individuals, might relate to a particular animal.
An evaluation form is distributed during the next to last session to measure the success of the program.