This past weekend Nate and I and 5 other Peace Corps volunteers held a mini empowerment camp for girls ages 14-17. The camp which is called GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is a camp coordinated and executed by Peace Corps volunteers around the world dedicated to girls’ leadership development by instilling a sense of empowerment.
In the last two years PCV’s have coordinated two large Camp GLOW’s in Guyana which have occurred in August. At the camp girls participate in group activities focusing on teamwork, self-esteem, goal setting, decision-making, creating healthy relationships and living healthy lives.
The girls that attended the large camp were encouraged to bring back what they learned to their communities by fundraising and acquiring regional support to host mini Camp GLOW’s in their own villages. Over the past year, four communities across Guyana each held their own mini-camp at the encouragement of the August campers. These mini-Camp Glow’s have been the first of its kind and the final mini-camp of the year occurred in our Region in the community of Wauna.
|Getting ready with our bus full of supplies to head to Wauna.|
|Our Camp for the weekend.|
Our three-day weekend included empowerment sessions, arts and crafts, exercise, obstacle courses, campfires, (and smores) and of course a kick-ass slack line over the dark tea-colored waters of Region 1. Camp GLOW really is an opportunity for young women to openly discuss and develop their opinions regarding themselves, the world, and the future of both. The girls that attended this camp rarely ever get an opportunity to express themselves and celebrate the power of their gender. In our community were “demon possessions” (99% which are females) close schools, girls are not expected to become professionals, often professional women are treated as second-class citizens, and women are viewed mostly as sexual objects and receptacles of desires for men, this camp encourages these young females to stand up in a safe environment and talk about the real issues affecting their daily lives. One of our Guyanese counselors said it the best. “Camp GLOW empowered me and other girls to stand proud of who we are. We learned to not be ashamed to speak out for our rights so that our voices may be heard, not allowing any one to victimize us because of our gender. Who runs the world? Girls!!”
|Healthy Body Image Session|
|Arts and Crafts|
|Nate's "Take it Back" Session|
|Can't have a camp without me busting out the Sexual Health|
|And of course the Slack Line|
|The girls quickly picked it up|
|Exercise and Obstacle Courses|
It was evident this weekend that Camp GLOW has changed the lives of countless young Guyanese women by helping them pursue and realize their goals. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience for them and us.
Till next time.