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Week 2 in the O.C began with a group trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific. When we arrived, we saw some jellyfish, starfish, sea lions, sting rays, and other amazing sea creatures. My favorite exhibit was the penguin exhibit, because they were just too cute. Later that day, we had a casual group night full of 2000’s music, donuts and red velvet cupcakes, and rounds of card games. It was a great night of group bonding as we relaxed in Morgan and Marlee’s apartment.

Monday was our first day of training with Girls’ Inc. The group travelled to our Girls’ Inc headquarters in Costa Mesa and met the staff. Beth, our STEM coordinator, led the day’s training with the focus on creating camp music and robotics. To welcome the girls to Eureka! camp, the staff sings a song on the first day. This year, the staff decided to sing a Girls’ Inc song to the tune of Katy Perry’s ‘ California Girls’ . The staff and my DukeEngage group focused on completing the lyrics for our song. Then, we picked other lessons to facilitate and support throughout our four weeks at camp. I chose to facilitate a college-bound course for middle school girls, and support a mind and body course for high school girls, because I am really interested in teaching those topics.

Afterwards, we played our first ice breaker, which involved pool noodles. It was nothing short of amazement on how fun one can have doing tricks with pool noodles, but we all had a great and entertaining time in our groups. Then, we meet our other STEM coordinator, Tami, and did some robotics training. It was then that my inner childhood excitement came out, as I saw the same robotics kit I worked and programmed with as a child- Lego Mindstorms. Tami showed that it was easier to maneuver our robots with programming than with joystick control. It was a lesson that built our confidence in computer programming and one that we all knew would resonate with the girls after a week of robotics.

Tuesday and Wednesday, we continue our training with more group ice breakers games, such as Lava, Evolution, and Group Rock Paper Scissors. The ice breakers allowed the staff, DukeEngage students, and Girls’ Inc volunteers to become more acquainted and comfortable working with each other. They were also fun ways to relax during after our informative session on camp rules and procedures. We also learned about different ways to communicate with each other and the girls, the difference between punishment and discipline, and how to verbally evaluate impact throughout our lessons.

On Thursday, we work on editing other camp lesson plans for the paper building and CSI weeks of camp and our BME lesson plans.Throughout the day, we built different machines out simple tools to model different carnival rides and games. My BME lesson plan partner, Theresa, and I worked with Girls’ Inc staffers to finalize our lesson schedule. I was really satisfied with the way it turned out, because we worked to make the lesson interactive in hopes that the campers will understand its purpose. The staff also worked together to create a crime scene for the Eureka! campers to investigate using different techniques they will learn. All I can say is that some staffers may have stolen a van full of food….

Overall, my second week in the O.C has been going really well. Girls’ Inc training was very interactive and had the group thinking of ways to implement these teaching strategies during summer camp. I can’t wait for the start of Eureka! as I continue my journey.