By Sarah Winstanley
In the poem I am an Emotional Creature, a tribute to girls around the world, playwright and activist Eve Ensler finishes with this powerful phrase: “I love – hear me, love love love being a girl.” In a world where girls carry the weight of so much gender stereotyping and responsibility, this phrase gives hope in a world where despair just as easily settles. It was my hope that by the end of each week of Girl Power 2011, the girls would be able to shout this together.
This summer we had two different groups of girls – three weeks of camp were for girls who were 10-12 years, and the other two weeks were for girls who were 13-15. The weeks were full of learning from one another. As the 2011 Girl Power Camp Coordinator I felt so lucky to be able to hear their insights, stories and opinions as we explored topics like body image, media awareness, human rights, relationships, identity and self-care. There was so much laughter and excitement as we tried new things like belly dancing, making movies, self-defense, Capoiera (a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts and music), decorating t-shirts and even hula-hooping!
My favourite part of each week was always the activity where the girls wrote letters to themselves to talk about what they learned each week and what they were going to do with that learning. What sticks out in my mind is a quote from one young girl who said “I have started thinking more about who I am and what my strengths are, which has been new for me.” There is something magical about hearing the girls speak about their skills and how they can use them to shape the future of our world!
By the end of the summer, my hopes were fully realized when we ended each camp with a big group hug and the girls shouting “I love love love being a girl. Girl Power!”