This week was the first week of camp! We started off STEM lessons in the morning and then life skills in the afternoon. Each of the STEM lessons were led by a pair from our DukeEngage group, and my partner and I got to do ours this week. I was excited but also nervous to facilitate a lesson on Zoom. The chat played a larger role than I have previously encountered, so it was a new dynamic to balance between going through the content, having the participants answer questions out loud, as well as acknowledge and shout out those engaging through the chat. But at the end of the day, I think it went well and I had a great time planning and facilitating with my lesson plan partner. I was really excited and proud of the participants for taking part in the activities, asking great questions, and thinking thoroughly through their reflection questions!
Over the course of the week, the afternoon life skills sessions consisted of topics like fitness, stress management, and sex ed, specifically about menstruation. The Girls Inc. staff did an amazing job of relaying this variety of information in a very empowering and inclusive way. With the conversations regarding fitness, they included conversations about including those with different body types, levels of ability, and body neutrality. This really gave me a lot of hope, as someone who has a chronic illness and has struggled with body image in the past, that there will be more and more people in the world with this level of acceptance and empathy, thanks to organizations like Girls Inc.
I was really impressed with the girls’ previous knowledge, understanding, and maturity about these topics. The conversations and space during this week’s life skills were unlike a lot of those I experienced at the same age as the participants, and a lot of the topics are things I learned a lot later, or may still be building confidence around. I was really proud to see the participants uplifting each other’s comments or reflections, and helping others at different stages of learning navigate new material understandingly and respectfully. All in all, I had a great time this week and am looking forward to next week!