Girls Inc. Summer Camp
By: Alison Schumacher
Community Volunteer &
The girls at Girls Inc.’s summer camp are finding their voices, per the camp’s theme, and it doesn’t sound like they are having a problem doing so: yells punctuate our meeting with Girls Inc. staff members and alumnae. “Don’t worry about the noise,” one of the staff members explains. “There’s a self-defense class going on next door.”
Self-defense? Writing & performing poetry? Discussing media messages and their influence on our collective consciousness and individual self-esteem? Sounds like a summer camp I’d like to participate in, although I’m nowhere close to the Girls Inc. age range of 6-14 years old!
Girls Inc. doesn’t throw facts and statistics at girls and call it a day; facilitators ask lots of questions and let girls make their own conclusions. Girls Inc. programs lead girls through a series of highly orchestrated activities and discussions, and by the end, girls realize they’ve learned relevant lessons to their lives at the same time they’ve had fun. As one of the participants shared, “At school, you’re always watching the clock and waiting for the day to end. At Girls Inc., you’re always having fun and learning and you’re disappointed if you have to leave early!”
While Girls Inc. runs a summer camp for six weeks, most of its work takes place during the rest of the year, when it partners with other community organizations to deliver Girls Inc. programs at community centers, schools, and churches. Programs are delivered over several weeks by teams of trained volunteers. Last year, Girls Inc. celebrated a record number of enrollments: over 4,000 girls participated in at least one of their programs.
Girls Inc. doesn’t just challenge its girls to be strong, smart, and bold; it challenges itself to create a bold vision with smart growth and strong performance. Staff shared some of their plans for the next two years, which include: determining how to best reach 15-18 year old girls; serving more of the 100,000 school-age girls in their four-county service area; and doubling the enrollment number yet again to reach 8,000. It sounds like Girls Inc. will be continuing to find its voice, too, as it strategically works towards these huge goals. What a great example for the girls they serve!
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