Summer plans are in full swing with high school graduation right around the corner, but for Cassidy Porter, the Adoration Conference is the most important date this spring — and has been for months.
Even more exciting than prom.
"I've been counting down the days and I post about it on social media, maybe a little too much," the Stockdale High School senior said.
The conference, debuting this year, is for junior and senior girls. Created by local photographer Mackenzie Hollar, the signature event focuses on girls uplifting girls through activities such as yoga and macrame, and talks from prominent women in the community regarding mental and spiritual topics.
On Sunday, Porter and other high school girls will be spending a "girl-powered" day at Bakersfield Country Club. And they won't be enrolling in a pseudo-summer school. They will be tackling nitty gritty topics like going off to college and friendships. All this while sipping coffee, galavanting around photo booths and lounging.
Five years ago, Hollar started a Senior Representatives mentoring program where she chooses 10 to 12 girls from different high schools to meet once or twice a month to talk about life's transitions and relationships.
But it wasn't enough. She wanted a day for girls to bounce positive energy off one another. The result was the Adoration Conference.
"To be completely honest I just want to equip girls with tools," Hollar said. "I just wanted to pour into them some way that's not academics, church or standard girl talk."
She chose the name "adoration" because of its definition: a deep love and respect.
"I can't ignore the fact there's a need in the community for girls to be reminded how valued they are," Hollar said.
For Hollar, the transition between senior year and going off to college or ending high school is a pivotal moment for young girls. She's thankful she's close to her parents and comfortable she sought advice about anything when she was a teenager.
"But sometimes you don't hear it when it's coming from your mom," Hollar said, which is where the conference could fill the void.
Porter has been a part of Hollar's Senior Representatives program for the past year. "It sounds cheesy, but honestly, it was life-changing," Porter said.
A huge part of the senior rep program is being a positive force in your social group and surrounding yourself with strong women because they will make you stronger.
Porter noticed tensions had been high in her friend group this year and wanted to help, but didn't have similar experiences so she initially became frustrated.
"I thought 'how can we show them love?'" Porter said. "Maybe it's little things like smiling at them."
Through gestures like this, inspired by being a senior rep, Porter was able to break down the barriers between her friends and she said they're closer than ever.
The conference is a one-time dose of the philosophy that drives Hollar's senior rep program.
"I was excited for prom," Porter said. "But this conference will help girls grow and it will be phenomenal."