Spreading the Word

By: Allison Gross

When we initially went around to the schools to collect information for our grant about the interest and viability of a girls camp, we had to try to tame the excitement since we weren’t sure if it would really work out.  As we lay the plans now, I was excited that the time had come to tell the girls all about the camp and how they can sign up.

The sea of girls kept moving in closer and closer, the excitement rising and rising as i went from class to class to introduce the camp to everyone once and for all. I was bombarded with questions from everything from what we will be doing to what they can wear.  The announcement that uniforms were not required got the most stir, but they were also so excited to hear that it was a special program just for girls.  Yet soon they were putting two and two together that not every girl would be able to participate since we have put the limit at 50 girls a school.  The other tough part was having all the boys come up asking why they can’t participate.

Now we have to see if the parents will be as quick to accept the concept as the girls.  The next step is sending home handouts about the camp with sign up sheets so we can get their parents consent to participate.  Its hard to predict how parents will react.  On one hand, this is an English immersion program being offered to the girls for free, but we need to make sure they do understand that we will be talking about more sensitive gender issues specific to girls and this may bring about a different response.  If the parents are all okay with the content, we will have the next difficult question of how do we select the girls to participate?

Beyond our own schools, we have been spreading the word to local Universities to attract potential counselors in order to recruit the right young women to run each of the camps.  This is a tough bill to fit, because you need excellent English skills and women who are somewhat empowered themselves.  Openness and creativity are also important qualities to have.  We are optimistic we can find the right group and in a couple weeks of training they will be more then equipped to lead the camp smoothly.  The more people we tell, the more exciting and real this is becoming.  It can be hard at times but overall the ability to bring our idea into reality is such a privilege that we are doing everything in our power to lay the groundwork in order to make this camp a huge success!

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