Saturday, January 22, 2011
This is a few weeks overdue, but I really wanted to tell you guys about camp GLOW. GLOW stands for Girls Leading Our World and this was a week long girls' empowerment camp for girls ages 13-15 from all over Uganda. It was held December 5-11, 2010 and 150 girls attended. This was the first time for Uganda to have camp GLOW and I am excited to continue it this upcoming year. I was fortunate enough to not only participate in the camp, but to be a camp counselor to a wonderful group of 7 girls. Here's the website so you guys can check it out (my picture is on the main page!) http://campglowuganda.yolasite.com/
Like I said, the camp was about a week long and each day had a different message:
Monday:"We GLOW with self esteem," was all about ways to build up and improve self esteem
Tuesday: "We GLOW when we work together," was about team building and the importance of team work
Wednesday: "We GLOW with good health," was about healthy living and habits
Thursday: "We GLOW with goals," was about how to plan for the future and make positive and reachable goals
Friday: "We GLOW as leaders of Uganda," was about how to spread and teach the lessons and messages of camp GLOW to other girls throughout Uganda
Each counselor had a Ugandan co-counselor so the girls could benefit from both the American and Ugandan perspective on the different topics. My co-counselor was Namusisi, the math tutor from my college. She was absolutely wonderful with the girls and was able to present information to them in a way that was easily relate-able. At our college, she works with me on my girls' club and does such a great job of answering difficult, and sometimes tricky questions, about sensitive topics like HIV/AIDS and sexual health. I was impressed at how excited and energetic she was throughout the week. There were a few hiccups along the way, but overall I was glad that I brought her with me.
Since there were so many girls, they were broken up into animal groups. My group was the chimpanzees. Each day 3 or 4 groups would move together to attend the different sessions. There would be a healthy living, GLOWing, arts and crafts, teamwork, and lifeskills session every day that would all go along with that day's message. Every counselor was responsible for teaching a topic. I taught about puberty and our changing bodies under healthy living on Tuesday. I started with an activity asking the girls to identify the different changes men and women go through during puberty, as well as the similar changes. For the most part, the girls understood these changes. Another Ugandan counselor taught about how to take care of your body during puberty. At first the girls were incredibly shy, which isn't that surprising coming from a culture that doesn't generally encourage women to voice their opinions. As the sessions went on, the girls began to open up and write down questions they wanted answered. I was asked everything from "Do I have safe days," to "If I bathe in cola, can I rid my body of HIV," to "What is masturbation." The girls were so thirsty for information!
Throughout the week it was such a wonderful experience to see the girls come out of their shells and become more and more comfortable talking during sessions, asking questions, voicing concerns, and readily contributing their opinions. I think camp GLOW has the potential to do amazing things for Uganda and, again, I'm so blessed to have been a part of it.
I could go into so much more detail, but the website really does a much better job. Here it is again... http://campglowuganda.yolasite.com/ Please check it out and let me know what you think. The camp GLOW team did a wonderful job bringing camp GLOW to Uganda and I'm sure they would love your support and encouraging words. Thanks for reading!
PS-off to Egypt this upcoming week then meeting Dad in India...blog posts to follow!