We Danced All Day at the Best Camp Ever!
Contributed by: Emily Alonzo
Each summer, Girls Empowerment Network hosts day camps entitled campGEN, which serve girls in grades 4-8. campGEN girls participate in fun, interactive workshops during weeklong sessions that are designed to help girls feel more confident as they navigate girlhood. Girls gain new skills, new friendships, and most importantly, a new sense of self!
GEN held 3 different sessions this summer; Calm, Cool & Creative, Strong, Bold & Assertive, and Relate, Motivate & Celebrate. Each session takes a different approach. Calm, Cool & Creative helps girls develop strategies to overcome daily pressures, Strong, Bold & Assertive helps girls build confidence and assertive communication skills, and Relate, Motivate & Celebrate celebrates differences and helps girls discover their identity! Each campGEN session emphasizes healthy habits, self-care tips, stress coping methods, self-awareness, the importance of diversity, and finding your strength!
The girls at each camp are split into three different teams by age groups; green team, purple team, and blue team. Most activities are practiced with all groups working together, however some projects are taught and practiced within individual groups for more engaging learning.
A typical day at camp begins with going over guidelines that structure appropriate behavior and friendliness during camp. Girls and counselors also “check-in” within their teams to learn about the each others’ highs and lows for the day. Following check-in is “Fruuuiiit Time!” Fruit, such as bananas and apples, are delivered to each and every girl as a healthy snack while girls chant along to the fruit song. Very catchy! The teams then reunite to participate in an engaging activity to stimulate their brains. After all of the hard thinking, the girls receive a nice long lunch break to relax and establish new friendships. Afterward, the girls continue the morning’s activity or start a new project for the day. At the end of camp, girls and camp staff join together in a circle for the “bump,” which is when everyone shares something they learned that day. It starts with one individual and is passed along to the person next to them by bumping hips. It is an empowering moment that exudes positive vibes.
At the end of each camp, on a Friday, a talent show is held for girls wanting to showcase their talents and abilities. Every single girl presents their own, unique talent and cheer one another on. During one talent show, one girl was overcome by nerves, but all of the girls cheered her on, which gave her the courage to showcase her amazing dance routine for everyone. It was such an impactful moment, which demonstrated phenomenal support and friendship. Talk about encouragement!
On the first day of camp, several of the girls may not know each other and the setting can feel a bit tense. However, by the end of the week, it is amazing to note that all of the girls know each others’ names, are willing to participate without being prompted, and are making plans for the summer with their new friends. Catchy chants and songs are sung throughout each day to motivate the girls and get them on their feet. Overall, their confidence and bravery skyrockets throughout the week. Each girl leaves camp with not only memories, but with a new sense of self to help them achieve any and every thing they desire in life!