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Wow. Our first week of camp is over. Every day is a whirlwind of facilitating, teaching, talking to the girls, helping out in other classes, transporting supplies, and supporting the girls in everything they do. It’s a lot. On a typical day we wake up at 6, leave for work at 7, and drive over an hour to OCC. When we get there, we lug our supplies across campus from staff central to our classrooms, set up everything, and get ready for the girls to arrive. Then we have a two and a half hour STEM class led by a pair of us, lunch with the girls, our own lunch, Girls Inc. classes, electives, and finally workshops. It’s a long day. At 5, we head home in rush hour traffic, arrive back at our dorms around 6:30, head to the gym to blow off some steam, cook and clean up dinner, and finally relax around 9 before heading to bed at 10. Every day is jam-packed and exhausting, but so fun.

The theme of this first week was paper engineering. Liv and I ran the slow race class, and everything went pretty well. Outside of the classroom, however, the hard work of working with children really began. We had a lot of bullying problems, kids trying to be cool by acting out, and friend problems. Everything really coalesced at our Friday field trip of the week at Knott’s Berry Farm. I was excited for a relatively chill day as the girls could strike out on their own. Instead, we continually ran into girls not wearing their Girls, Inc. shirts, girls not wanting certain people in their group, girls meeting up with boys, and girls making other girls feel uncomfortable. It was really frustrating for me to see all of this happening and really how little we could do about it. You can talk to a girl all you want, but unless she sees the problem for herself, she’s not going to change. I just want what’s best for them already, and I’ve only known them for a week.

Next week we build flashlights using our own curriculum. I can’t wait to put it into action!