Give back with Lea Clark, the 2016 Girl of the Year from American Girl

Sponsored postIt’s hard saying goodbye to beloved friends. In the past few weeks I have heard plenty from my kids about how sad they are that American Girl ever retires dolls and how much they miss McKenna, Caroline, Molly, Ruthie, Ivy, and Grace. But, I always remind them that American Girl plans these retirements so that they can introduce even more doll friends.

New friends like Lea Clark, the 2016 Girl of the Year from American Girl. Isn’t she a beauty? Lea Clark GOTY hikingShe comes with an adorable cross-body bag that is perfect for her many adventures, a compass to guide her, and a gorgeous and fun outfit that celebrates her unique style. Then, of course, we had to get her accessories like her trusty camera and her special walking stick. Lea Clark GOTY AccessoriesUpon seeing Lea for the first time, my daughter exclaimed, “She’s a nature girl, like me!” And, just like that, she was in love. Lea Clark GOTYTrust me, kiddo, I get it. Lea loves photography and blogging and is scared of water, so that already makes us kindred spirits. Also like me, she loves traveling, hiking, animals, and staying active. So, when Lea Clark arrived at our house, it was a really happy day. Lea Clark camera photoMy daughter was thrilled to finally have a doll with hazel eyes like she has, and she was overjoyed when the neighbor commented about how her and Lea looked like sisters. Admittedly, the matching cross-body totes and the camera she made to match Lea *might* have had something to do with the resemblance, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. Lea Clark GOTY bagWe started by reading a bit about her in her first book “Lea Dives In”, and we immediately were engrossed in her story. Her story begins while packing for a trip to visit her brother in South America. We learn that it has been a long time since she has seen her brother and since her family has all been together. We also learn that she has lost a beloved grandmother who inspired her to try new things – particularly things she is frightened of. Lea Clark GOTY messenger bagThis becomes important as Lea travels to Brazil and has to overcome her fear of the ocean. I loved reading this part of her story with my daughter because there are many times at home and while traveling when we have encouraged her to get outside of her comfort zone.

My daughter has been all over the world with us and I love that she has experienced so many things in her short life that many adults have never had a chance to see and do. Whether it’s getting her comfortable enough in the deep ocean to try snorkeling, going solo down the covered water slides, or it’s overcoming a fear of heights while hiking or climbing to the top of monuments, traveling and exploring has given us numerous opportunities to challenge ourselves together. Lea Clark GOTY 2Lea’s story will inspire us to say “yes” more. Yes to new experiences, to things that might frighten us, and most importantly, to trusting ourselves. There’s a big world out there that we want to see together, and fear can’t hold us back.

This girl? She’s going to do big things and we can’t have fear standing in her way.Lea Clark hiking with girlTo celebrate Lea’s arrival, we planned a day of nature activities that Lea herself would definitely approve of. We made Lea-inspired walking sticks for our trek and we got to explore the forest near us. It wasn’t a Brazilian rain forest, but we still enjoyed our nature walk along the trails and checking out some local vegetation and wildlife. Lea Clark GOTY walking sticksWe were surprised when a bald eagle happened upon our route and we got to see one of the most magnificent shows we’ve ever seen. To see their faces light up as they saw this huge bird right in front of us was amazing and we were marveling that our random nature walk had such wonderful timing. This was another good lesson about how saying “yes” to adventure – even just in our own neighborhood – can make amazing and memorable things happen.

Do you have a little adventurer? Bring home Lea and share her story about overcoming her fears and diving in. These girls will one day move mountains, but today they will play. Lea Clark with toy cameraLet them play and explore with Lea while she is here and they will have those memories to guide them even well after Lea’s departure. Saying goodbye will undoubtedly be tough, but it’s the memories and experiences that will make Lea a beloved friend for a lifetime.

Lea Clark will be at American Girl stores and online for only a year, so be sure and get her and her accessories while you can. Lea’s collection includes a gorgeous rain forest hideaway, tropical print clothing and accessories, souvenirs from Lea’s trip, and her travel necessities.

Giving back in the most fun way possible

To show girls that they can help protect animals and their habitats, American Girl created a year-long fundraising campaign to support the World Wildlife Fund. Through its Wild at Art campaign, American Girl is urging girls to use their artistic abilities to host an art sale and donate the proceeds to the fund. Since we had so much fun participating in a bake sale with Grace last year to donate to No Kid Hungry, we will definitely be participating in this year’s campaign as well.

And, to start things off, American Girl has made a $50,000 donation to the fund and they will continue to give $1 to the fund {maximum of $100,000} with every purchase of one of three plush animals in Lea’s collection. Oh, did I mention these animals are adorable? We have our eye on the sloth, but they are all so sweet that we might have to bring home more than one.

To explore Lea’s world and see some awesome crafts, wallpaper downloads, quizzes, and more, visit the American Girl site and see how her story unfolds in three books and a new movie that will be released in July of this year.

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8 thoughts on “Give back with Lea Clark, the 2016 Girl of the Year from American Girl”

  1. This is so adorable! L & H ask us every time we go to the mall when they get to pick out an AG doll. I’m thinking L’s 5th bday!


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