GLAD Camp: Helping Girls Set Their Sights on a Limitless Future
Each summer, Girls Leadership & Development (GLAD) Camp engages girls in grades one through eight in fun, exciting, esteem-building activities. Taught by Wisconsin-certified female teachers chosen for their ability to serve as positive role models, GLAD Camp builds confidence and leadership skills, fosters positive body image, and encourages girls to set high-reaching goals.
Programming focuses on three key areas:
In the Core sessions girls explore the concept of leadership and what it means to be a leader. The differences between positive and negative self-esteem are addressed while guiding the girls to discover positive female role models in their own lives. Books and activities related to the topic are central to this session. Books with girls as the main character which have a positive message are selected; the daily activities directly relate to the book for that day.
Leadership development occurs throughout the two weeks; however, one day is designated as Leadership Day. On that day, camp activities revolve around leadership and working within a team. The girls are associating with all of the other campers during the all-camp-activities, and the older girls assume leadership roles by supporting the younger girls. All camp games, relay races and snack time encourage the girls to recognize what they have in common and how they are alike, which solidifies the community feeling at camp.
Reflection is an important component during the two weeks of camp. The girls are asked to reflect on themselves as a strong girl in every session during camp. Each core session ends with the girls examining the day’s message and what that message means to them. Reflections include:
- Who are their role models?
- Where do we find our role models?
- What different communities they are a part of.
- What is the definition of beauty?
- How are they beautiful?
- What can they do to make their world, and their friends’ world, better?
The focus of the fitness sessions is for the girls to learn to appreciate their bodies through fitness and healthy food choices. Activities include Zumba dance, hula hooping, core strengthening, Pilates, yoga and relay competitions. These sessions are led by local women who have expertise in these areas.The fitness sessions provide several benefits. One benefit is that the fitness activities may be new to the girls, and successfully trying a new activity builds confidence. Another benefit is that the women who lead the activities provide yet additional positive role model experiences for the girls.
Girls Excelling in Math & Science (GEMS)
The math and science activities start out as problems with simple solutions that have connections to the girls’ interests. They then move on to more complex experiments that require a higher order of thinking. Each portion of math and science is tied to the day’s main message and followed by group discussions focusing on how the solution was accomplished because of the girls’ new found knowledge of the objective. Each day the girls are encouraged to reflect on how teamwork helped the group achieve their goals.
GEMS was a new addition to GLAD Camp in 2011, and the program was a favorite for the girls. One popular GEMS session was making lava lamps and in the process the girls learned about the properties of carbonation and how gases work. Another had the girls working together to solve the best way to write in code by creating invisible ink. This applied acidic properties and what was needed to view the writing and what counteracts the acid to view the writing again. Through the GEMS experiments the girls work as a team and gain confidence in the sciences.
All camp activities take place on the beautiful campus of St. Norbert College. The registration fee includes a daily snack, a camp t-shirt and an end-of-camp family celebration. A limited number of scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
GLAD Camp has been filled to capacity every year since its founding!