Female Friendship Blossoms

At the William Paca Garden

By Christine Fillat  |  Photography by Angie Myers


Women, over the years, have been part of a movement, not necessarily feminism, but one more complex and organic, a movement grounded in friendship, the will to rise, succeed and help good causes.

This is what Paca Girlfriend Power is all about. Women entrepreneurs, business owners, mothers, daughters and best friends gather each year at the William Paca House and Garden to raise funds for the Historic Annapolis Foundation. But it is not just about money. It is a time to celebrate the beauty and power of women friendships, to network, to shop, to drink “Pacatinis,” a sublime concoction dreamed up just for them.

This year the Paca Girlfriends’ Party on June 15 raised over $100,000, say Robert Clark, president and CEO of Historic Annapolis and Carrie Kiewitt, senior vice president. Conceived in 2009 by Judi Herrmann, a former Historic Annapolis board member and owner of Herrmann Advertising, the event began as a cocktail party with 200 guests to raise awareness about Historic Annapolis and the work it accomplishes. Today, the event sold out in four hours with 900 guests attending.

It is not surprising that the Paca Girlfriends pack so much power. Dorinda Schultz, LCSW-C and counselor at the Pasadena Center for Counseling, reflects on the connection between female friendship and well-being. True friendships produce a special, almost tangible energy. They anchor us during chaos. A good friend can help you shift your thinking, help you get to a more positive place. This, when you truly think about it, is miraculous. They are a beam of light, a source of well-being. A true friend’s heart is inexhaustible as the sun. And, when gathered en masse, are nothing less than a
force of nature.

She notes friendships between women are different than those between men. “I think girlfriends tell each other their secrets and can keep secrets. So again, that ties in with the issue of trust, to be able to trust someone fully and tell them your deepest, darkest secrets, and that they won’t judge you for it.” And, she observes, there is a physicality between women that helps cement an invisible bond.

“Girls can touch. Women can touch. And that is such another wonderful way to connect. We can hug each other. We can kiss each other. We can hold each other, sleep with each other. We can hold hands. … Touching is so big for us. That’s something that can sometimes be missed in a relationship, the idea of affection or touching.”

The Paca Girlfriends’ Party is evidence of women’s strong bonds, and their collective power to help fund Historic Annapolis and gems such as the William Paca House and Garden. It is a celebration of independence and confidence. “We have a lot of slang and jargon such as Women Power, Women’s Rights, Go Women, Women and Wine,” says Schultz. She agrees that Paca Girlfriend Poweris the latest phrase resounding through the city of Annapolis.