Gutsy Girls

A group of local fourth through sixth grade girls, called the Gutsy Girls, are doing big things to empower themselves and others. Gutsy Girls was formed two years ago by Leslie Clay as a way to help her two elementary-aged daughters discover themselves, develop friendships, and face their fears. The group met once a week, beginning with creative mantras full of confident phrases, and embarking on new adventures in singing, set construction, holding tarantulas, community service, public speaking, and more.

A big part of the “gutsy” agenda has been community outreach. In 2017, the Gutsy Girls created a GoFundMe campaign for the Detroit Community Coat Drive, which provides elementary school students with warm coats for the winter. They surpassed their original goal of $1,300, and raised $2,915. Employees at GoFundMe were so impressed with their campaign that they even granted an additional $1,000 contribution. “I was so proud of how hard the Gutsy Girls worked sewing beanies, making art, and selling lemonade at Seaside Market to show their love and connection with other children in another part of the country,” said Leslie.


The group hosted a dinner for the homeless at Cottonwood Creek Park through the Fill-A-Belly program in Encinitas, preparing and serving meals to over 60 people. The Gutsy Girls also recently hosted a local open mic night to raise money for rural communities in Ntungamo, Uganda while facing their public performance fears at the same time. They opened the evening with a play called The Paper Bag Princess, adapted from the children’s book of the same title, followed by group and solo performances.

The Gutsy Girls are continuing to grow and inspire others with their confidence, kindness, curiosity, and guts. To learn how to get involved, contact