The culture of SNLP is rooted in four major concepts: leadership, feminism and social justice, teaching and learning, and community. We support the culture and community of Sadie Nash by developing and facilitating rituals, routines, and habits of mind that support the principles outlined below, as well as through intentional role-modeling and rigorous programming. We understand that the concepts below are ideals: they take time to learn and we need to be patient with ourselves and each other in this process. Nonetheless, we are committed to actualizing these values in our work every day.

We define our values and philosophies as follows:


  • Challenges the status quo

  • Is accountable, cooperative, ethical, and effective 

  • Balances individual responsibility with collective needs

  • Believes that young women and gender-expansive youth can effect change NOW and in the future

  • Expands concepts and definitions of leadership to include non-traditional models 

  • Aspires to make choices & decisions that are as transparent and non-hierarchical as possible

  • Believes that barriers to leadership are rooted in structural injustices and inequalities rather than personal deficiencies


  • Is rooted in an asset-based philosophy that young people can succeed because of (not in spite of) who they are 

  • Demands and seeks the right to equality for all people regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, education, class, nationality, immigration status, abilities, age, and/or any other aspect of their identity

  • Allows for self-identification and self-determination of young women’s present and future identities

  • Models anti-oppressive practices, behaviors and leadership styles

  • Believes that the theories and practices of feminism vary and encourages every woman to define her own relationship to feminism

  • Is rooted in a belief in the power, and potential, of women, gender-expansive people, and community

  • Is committed to challenging the internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological oppression 

  • As staff constantly examining ourselves and acknowledging our own power, identity and privilege, and how that could affect our work.


  • Sets a standard of intellectual rigor & high expectations for both ourselves & the students

  • Understands that we are all “in process” and  challenges us to move forward 

  • Teaches to the multiple intelligences of all people

  • Values students as experts about their own lives

  • Believes that learning should be challenging, engaging, relevant and fun.

  • Encourages debate and diversity of opinion

  • Exposes our students to new experiences, opportunities, and resources 


  • Creates a safe space where everyone feels respected for who they are and feels free to be themselves

  • Encourages all members of the community to leave their comfort zone—risk & dialogue are honored and respected

  • Requires a commitment to resolving conflict respectfully, responsibly, and creatively

  • Demands thoughtfulness and respect in how we speak about our colleagues, our participants, and their communities 

  • Interrupts and questions oppressive behaviors and language

  • Honors emotions as information & knowledge

  • Establishes and maintains clear boundaries between adults and young women to sustain healthy relationships 

  • No comments on appearance–positive or negative—especially in groups

  • Requires that all students be treated equitably