Camp GLOW 2013: FEB 8-11, 2013
“The Gender and Development Committee (GAD) organized Peace Corps Nicaragua’s first-ever Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) in 2013. The camp was held at the retiro Vida Joven in Jinotega on Feb. 8 – 11. Forty-six girls and seven counterparts either attended or helped out, along with the nine PCVs who were involved in planning and Peace Corps Nicaragua Country Director, Carol Barrick, who participated in every session.
The original idea for Camp GLOW came from a Romania, where in 1995 three PCVs and four Romanian teachers took 80 young women to a mountain campsite for a week-long leadership camp. Since then, the idea of hosting a camp specifically for young women has spread throughout the world; as of 2000, approximately 21 camps took place worldwide. And now the GAD Committee has decided to bring this idea to Nicaragua!
This year’s Camp GLOW aimed to train the participants in self-esteem, decision-making and life skills, with the hope to inspire them to continue growing, learning and making informed decisions about their lives. The girls received training in self-esteem, sexual and reproductive health, violence against women and leadership. In addition, they participated in team-building exercises, expressed them- selves creatively, learned volleyball and got to explore the mountainous selva.
What was perhaps most unique about this camp was the focus on introspection, collectivity among women, and per- sonal growth. This was best exemplified by a “candlelight ceremony” led by Carol. Each participant was given an unlit candle with an attached “GLOW” card. We gathered in a circle and turned off the lights. Carol explained the history of Camp GLOW, and how the idea of creating this women-only space originated in Romania. At this point she lit her candle, explaining that it represented the dream of Camp GLOW.
She went on to light the candles of the GAD Committee participants detailing how this dream began far away with one “candle,” but has since spread throughout the world, including Nicaragua. We then began lighting the candles of the girls and counterparts we had invited, and within a short time the entire room was lit up by many tiny candles. Carol concluded by explaining how the light of one dream can catch fire throughout our families, communities and world, and invited us to think about what our dream was, internalize it, and when we were ready, blow out the candle.
Camp GLOW was an amazing experience, and we hope that it becomes an annual event in Nicaragua. This camp was the result of a year’s worth of sweat and tears, and would not have been possible without the following GAD members: Cassie Collier SBD 56; Noelle London SBD 56; Kate Kongs MCH 55; Hanna Useem MCH 55; Gabe Goffman HLS 55; Angie Kantner HLS 55; Talia Langman MCH 58; James Younger HLS 58; and special thanks to Alison Etheridge ENV 54, who was an integral part of the planning, budgeting and fundraising process, but who unfortunately could not be at the actual camp. Everyone pulled together to plan the camp, get it funded, obtain materials, invite participants, connect with appropriate counterparts and facilitate sessions. Thank you GLOW people for everything you’ve done and will continue to do!”
– Robyn Singleton
(Reflection originally published in the APRIL 2013 issue of Va Pue)
GLOW 2013 Video
GLOW 2013 Gallery
Read all posts about Camp GLOW here.