This summer on the west end we wanted to do something special to shine a light on being a girl at Camp Foley.
We love being a co-ed camp and feel that our campers get the best of both worlds. A co-ed environment throughout the day at activities and all camp programming, and having time with just your cabin and East or West ends of camp at night during evening program, cabin time, and at Friendship Campfire. Campers this year got an added bonus event on the West and East side. On the west end, our event was called “Circle of Love”.
I came across this quote by Claire Shipman “Girls’ confidence drops by 30% between the ages of 8 and 14. “Right until age 8, there’s really no difference [between girls and boys] in confidence levels,” Shipman says. “We were surprised at how quickly, how deep that drop is.” and I thought about how camp could help. It is already part of our mission to grow grit and independence in every camper, and I thought we had an amazing opportunity to gather our girls together and build up some confidence.
The Circle of Love involved several components…
We started building our circle with words of affirmation. We were of course sitting in a circle and I took the lead and taught the girls the call and repeat aspect. I would start with a “you are________” statement and the circle would respond “I AM ________” repeating my word back to me. After I did a few rounds for the group, we encouraged the west end campers to stand and share their own with the group. After this evening program, cabins were encouraged to continue doing affirmations during the evenings during nightly closures as well.
The next step in building our circle of love was making Confidence Posters! The concept was fairly simple, each camper was given special paper and told to write at least words. These 3 words had to be words that their best friends or family have used to describe them. They write these words in marker and then take sponges and water color trays and decorate and embellish the words on the paper. The marker and water colors made a very cool effect when paired together. The campers then presented their posters to their cabins and hung them up for all to see by each of their bunks. They act as a reminder that we can be our own best friend, and that we are all these amazing things people describe us as.
I Can’t Funeral
The last step of our circle was an “I can’t Funeral”. This was an exercise in letting go of obstacles we hold within ourselves. Tiny pieces of paper were handed out to each camper, and they were told to write down an I can’t statement that they think about themselves. I would tell the girls that this could be something someone told them they could not accomplish or could be something they think about themselves that they believe they cannot do. I then gave a eulogy to the “I can’ts” in our hands. We laid them to rest and expressed how happy we were to see them gone. Then cabin by cabin the campers came forward and through their “I can’ts” in the fire, burning them up so they can harm no one any longer.
My hope is…
That the campers living on the west end walk away with more confidence in themselves and with less “I can’ts” or road blocks to their own success. Sometimes it can be very hard to be a girl out in the world, so hopefully here at Camp Foley all our west end campers feel a part of our circle of love.