Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Girls Leading Our World 2013

We welcome you to Camp GLOW, we're really glad you're here.
We'll send the air reverberating with our mighty cheer.
We'll sing you in, we'll sing you out.
To you we'll give a mighty shout. Hooray!
Hail, hail, the gangs all here- welcome to Camp GLOW-oh-oh
Hail, hail, the gangs all here- welcome to Camp GLOW!
The best week of my year was without-a-doubt, this past week at Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). Camp GLOW brings together 80 girls from all over Macedonia, from the different ethnic groups here, for a week long leadership camp. The entire camp is done in English, so the girls that come are some of the most talented girls in the country. This year's camp took place at a private English school in Tetovo (in western Macedonia). I had three girls from my town at camp this year, which was exciting, so now five from my town have joined the GLOW family.

Last year at camp, I was a counselor and together with my co-counselor, we had a group of ten girls that were our charge for the week. I taught a few classes, but not many. This year, I came back to camp as an Instructor, which meant my job was teaching classes and getting to hang out with all the girls. I taught eight classes, with six of them being taught four times to a group of 20 girls. My classes this year were:
- The 5 W's of Project Planning: where the girls learned how to develop and implement a project
Awesome poster one group of girls created about a problem they saw in Macedonia- the different groups not getting along. An Albanian girl drew the Macedonian flag, a Macedonian girl drew the Albanian flag, and there was a bit of arguing over who would get to be the lesbian. What more could we ask for in terms of these girls addressing tough issues right off the bat?!
- Minute to Win It: an elective class based on the American TV show
- Our Effects on the Environment: where the girls learned about their impact on our earth
The girls learned how long it took for everyday items to fully decay. The bright yellow notes are their guesses and the light yellow ones were how long it really takes.
- Are You Smarter than the GLOW Staff?: an elective class where the girls competed to see if they knew more useless trivia than the staff
- Field Day: an all camp competition between the different groups where the girls had to work together as a team to complete the challenges (water balloon volleyball, minefield, name that tune, bubblegum blowing, ...)
All the teams started out having to unfreeze a t-shirt
Try and make your way through the minefield without hitting a mine
Can you match the baby picture with the staff member?
Work together to launch a water balloon back and forth 8 times.
- Stereotypes and the Iceberg Theory: where we really dove into the different stereotypes the girls have heard in their country about the different ethnic groups and how the stereotypes affect us
- Sex Ed 1: we talked about STDs and how they spread and how to prevent them. The girls all learned how to correctly put a condom on- many of the girls were scared as they had never touched a condom before. 
Shaking hands and passing "STD"s to show how quickly they can spread
- Sex Ed 2: we talked birth control in this class, which is especially important as 1 in 4 pregnancies in Macedonia end in abortion and on 13.5% of women in a relationship use any form of birth control.

While I didn't get to know the girls quite as well as last year, it was great to have an impact on them through classes. For me, the Stereotypes and Sex Ed classes were the most important and had the biggest impact on the girls since for stereotypes it made them think about things they say and as far as sex ed goes, many girls have never had any form of sex ed in their lives. The girls said Sex Ed 1 and 2 were the classes that will have the biggest impact on their lives, which is fantastic. We also talked about tampons with the girls since no one wears tampons here for fear they will take their virginity away. However, their minds were blown when their learned they could go swimming during their period if they wore a tampon. 
Just like last year, my outfit for Disco Night was created during the Project Runway: Trash Fashion elective. Most of it was made out of Peace Corps Worldview magazines!
The last night of camp, the kitchen staff made us a fabulous surprise cake
Being a PCV is sometimes really hard because you don't feel like what you do matters. I have felt that way about 90% of my time here. However, when these national projects come along, I feel like I am actually doing something positive here. GLOW takes all those crappy things about being a PCV and makes them disappear. The girls that are at camp really are the best of the best in this country and the Host Country National staff at camp are incredibly successful. I got a much larger sense of accomplishment from being around these girls than anything else I have done in country.
With US Ambassador Wohlers and PC Country Director Kutzy
Camp GLOW 2013
I love Camp GLOW and everything it stands for!

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