At Olive Garden nothing beats the delicious, not to mention all-you-care-to-eat, hot breadsticks, salad, and my fave, Minestrone soup, except the company of treasured friends. Recently, while noshing on these delectable menu choices, I was having lunch with a group of girlfriends. I took a minute to look around the table at them and realized that I have some pretty amazing friends. At my table sat women who have ran marathons, beat cancer, started their own businesses, mothered children through diapers, sickness, tears, and all the while kept a sense of humor and found ways to help others in need. I feel lucky to call these confident, empowered women my friends. I have always enjoyed having lunch dates and girls’ nights out. Even when my children were babies, I made these outings a priority. A good, old-fashioned conversation with girlfriends can add a new perspective, uplift a burdened spirit, or provide empathetic commiseration. I think women can support and nurture one another like no other. Another one of my incredible friends, Lisa Krch, has been a longtime supporter of KCFM, and as a confident woman, she has been an example to many in this community. This month, she writes two articles about how to help boost self-belief and self-esteem in young girls. In her article, “How to Raise a Confident Girl,” on page 14, she outlines steps on how to be an effective role model. In her other article, “Kern County Confidence: The Megan Langenfield Story,” on page 15, she writes about local softball star, Megan Langenfield, who was recently inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame. Read about her story and how self-confidence played a huge role in her impressive accomplishments. KCFM’s funny gal, Tracie Grimes, is another confident woman who has us splitting our gut with laughter with each of her humor columns. This month, her Humor at Home article, “The Rule,” on page 17, gives us her unique point of view on eating out with children and the “rules” that need to be strictly enforced. And, some of these guidelines will make you chuckle. Also, in her monthly book review, “No Pressure Reading,” on page 24, Tracie Grimes writes about how to encourage readers who might become overwhelmed. Some of her recommendations include “What’s in the Garden,” by Marianne Berkes, “The Matchbook Diary,” by Paul Fleischman, and “Middle School: My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar,” by James Patterson. And for moms, she says “Brava Valentine,” by Adriani Trigiani, gives the reader an entertaining story about family ties, duty, and love. One of the best ways to help your children grow up into successful and happy adults is by giving them ample opportunities to develop their talents. What better way to promote their self-esteem than through a summer camp? Make sure to mark your calendars for KCFM’s annual Summer Camp and Adventure Fair on Thursday, April 11 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Westside Church of Christ. With 30 local Camp directors, you’re sure to find the perfect camp for your little camper! If your child has special needs, sometimes finding a camp to meet them can be hard. Many camps cater to children who face unique challenges, both physically and mentally. To find out more about these type of camps and local opportunities, check out the article, “Being Kids First – Special Camps for Special Families,” on page 13. Thanks to Lexie Watkins and her mom, Jennifer, for sharing their experience at a local camp for children with diabetes. This April, take a minute to appreciate the friendships in your life that bring you joy and empower you to be your best self. As Marcel Proust once said, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” See you, our friends, at KCFM Annual Camp Fair on April 11th!