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Katherine Brand ’24 (left) and Hannah Weisse ’25 have been involved with GLAD Camp since its formational years. They say they’re proud to carry on a tradition of helping the next generation of girls feel empowered and welcomed.

GLAD Camp Lays Out Path to SNC and Beyond

The GLAD Camp experience on campus has come full circle for two former campers. Now in their third and fourth years as St. Norbert College students, Hannah Weisse ’25 and Katherine Brand ’24 spend their summers leading a new generation of girls.

Foundational experience takes hold
Brand, at 6 years old, was one of the first to attend GLAD (Girls Leadership & Development) Camp. She returned each summer until she turned 11. The experience, she says, helped her feel stronger and more confident.

“SNC made me feel like I belonged,” she says. “I love the sense of community at SNC, and sensed this community at GLAD. Camp was one of the things that started my love for the college.”

When it came time to make college plans, she knew she wanted to come back to SNC, this time as an undergraduate. And it was clear to the budding environmental science major that she wanted to be involved in camp again once she started her first year on campus.

“GLAD Camp was such a big part of my summers and influenced me so much,” Brand says. “I wanted to give back and show compassion and excitement to the girls that I had when I was in camp.”

Weisse attended GLAD Camp’s first-ever session in 2008, and since has taken part at all levels: first as a camper, then as part of the high-school staff, and now as a counselor.

“Some of my favorite memories were meeting the incredible guest speakers and some of the fun team-building activities. But, most of all, meeting some of my friends who are still my best friends today!” she says.

Weisse left the Green Bay area for her higher-education journey, but her love of the St. Norbert community and some homesickness inspired her to transfer to SNC to continue her nursing studies. “Camp always made SNC feel like home; and being here for most of the year [was] so special to me,” Weisse says.

The chance to pay it forward
“All young girls are different, and it can be hard to not compare yourself,” explains Brand. “Every one of these girls is capable and can do anything they set their minds to. It’s important they leave camp knowing that.”

Weisse even had the title of a book she read to campers one summer tattooed as a small token of remembrance. “I read the book ‘I Am Enough’ by Grace Byers to a group,” she says. “Seeing the enlightened looks on their faces was one of the most special moments of my life.”

She wants campers to walk away knowing they are enough just as they are, that they are empowered women, too. As for herself, she’s not done with GLAD Camp: “Hopefully one day I will come back to talk about how awesome nurses are!”

Game-changing summers
St. Norbert College founded GLAD Camp in 2008. During two one-week sessions each summer, young girls from grades 1 through 8 come together to build self-esteem and positive body image, increase confidence and hone leadership skills, all while setting personal goals.

Chelsea Faase ’08, the camp’s director, brings together a team of Wisconsin-certified teachers and college-student camp counselors to plan out craft activities, classes, fitness time and community guest speakers to run sessions or talk about their professions.

“Our program wouldn’t be what it is without the incredible staff, and all of the amazing women both in the SNC community and beyond, for their constant support and being the pillars of strength that our campers look up to,” says Faase.

Her team has been able to polish and perfect “a phenomenal program” over the past 14 years, she adds. They tailor the content, classes and activities for each camp, and that’s a big reason they see a high number of returning campers. GLAD Camp has brought in girls from 14 different states and four different countries.

“Hands down my favorite part of camp is the energy that is buzzing through Boyle Hall during those two weeks,” says Faase.

July 13, 2023