The last week of Eureka! camp. The week when every Girls Inc counselor was a suspected food truck thief. The week when mind and body were essential. The week we said goodbye to our students and the beloved Eureka staff who supported us throughout this amazing journey.
Crime Scene Investigation Week
Prior to the last week of camp, a “crime” was committed. Apparently, a few staffers stole a truck that contained the food for our final celebration, Eureka-thon. The girls’ tasks throughout the week was to collect evidence, such as fingerprints and photos to identify the perpetrators. It was humorous how some of the girls came into the first class accusing me of being the thief. After being told that I looked suspicious and bribed to “confess”, I emphasize the importance of evidence collection in cases. Fortunately, that lesson exonerated me from the crime towards the end of the week. Furthermore, the girls were able to collect tangible evidence such as fingerprints on a coffee mug.
Mind + Body
This week Melissa and I supported a mind and body class with 9th and 10th grade students. On the first day we and our facilitator, Geena talked to the girls about healthy ways to relieve stress. The girls named great ways to handle stressing our lives from cooking to exercise. My favorite response from one group of girls was a zamboni. As a result, I challenged the girls to find one and ride on it as a reliever. Sadly, none of them found one. We also focused on nutrition and healthy eating. One of my favorite activities was when the girls made a silly commercial for a specific food. One group developed a lovely commercial for everyone’s favorite cold, dead fish meal- sushi. Other promoted food items included SPAM and spaghetti- damn, which costs 16 $20 payments and one green meatball for an extra $10. Overall, the girls did learn about taking care and their bodies and self love.
Friday was our last day at Eureka! camp. Going into to that day, I knew the vibe would be bittersweet, but I didn’t know how much. Despite knowing that we wouldn’t be seeing these amazing young ladies next year, my DukeEngage group kept the energy levels and excitement high. We began the day with icebreakers on the field and spoke to all the girls about their summer at the camp. I constantly presented with hugs and questions about our return. After telling some of my students that my teaching experience was for one summer, they were a bit saddened and asked if I could move to California or become their babysitters. Of course, I told them that I had to return home and back to college, but that I loved the amazing time I had with them. As soon as the whole camp arrived to the venue for Eureka-thon, they were excited to see the DJ, photo booth, and beautiful displays of their work. Throughout the day, they also wrote individual notes to us and placed them in our shadow boxes. During the day, we danced with the girls, took photos with then, and signed their Eureka yearbooks. One great activity we participated in was Tap a Girl. In this activity, all the girls tapped each other after hearing positive statements. My favorite statement was “Tap a girl who inspires you” and I was touched to be tapped by many of my students and be told that I inspired them. We were also able to dress up in fancy clothing aside from our typical Girls Inc uniform of a staff black shirt and jeans. As soon as we entered the room in our outfits, the girls applauded and cheered for us. Later in the day, the 10th graders had their Eureka graduation ceremony to the tune of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and younger Eureka girls gave speeches another their enjoyment of camp and the friendships they made. We as DukeEngage students even gave speeches of appreciation to the girls and Girls’ Inc for our amazing experience. At the end of Eureka- thin we hugged all our students, wished them the best in school and cried
about not being able to see them in the future. During the day, I saw a group of intelligent, strong, and brace girls who have great futures ahead of them and will do amazing things.
Eureka! camp’s chant is “EUREK omg I forgot the A, EUREKA-A-A, EUREKA go girls!”, but I’ll never forgot the -A and this beautiful time I had as a member of this DukeEngage group and working with Girls’ Inc. It has allowed me to grow as a teach and achieve my goal of leading with grace, integrity, and empathy, and I couldn’t be more prouder of myself, my team and Girls’ Inc staff, and the girls.