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We have just finished our first week of camp!  Two Duke Engage pairs have already presented their STEM lessons about cybersecurity and encryptions/encoding. They did an amazing job with their slides and interacting with the campers. Our friends at Girls Inc also covered life skills and I was so impressed by the campers. These lessons covered difficult and uncomfortable topics and the girls were mindful, inclusive, and open in conversation.  For one of the lessons, we talked about periods. Before the presenters could even bring up using inclusive language in our conversations, the chat box was already filled with girls promoting inclusivity. Even when one camper was being a bit insensitive about the topic, the other girls only sought to educate and uplift. Seeing the community that Girls Inc has created is super inspiring and I was so proud of this group of young women.

One of the obstacles I faced in these virtual lessons was breakout rooms. They can be amazing and fun or they can be very awkward. For our first breakout room, we did icebreakers. There was one girl who practically led the activity and it was so cute. However, I want to be more mindful about interacting with the girls who are less outgoing. Sometimes when one camper is being more active than the others, it’s easy to get excited and forget about creating an open conversation with the whole room. My second breakout room was a complete turnaround. Barely anyone talked and they only did so in chat. When that happens it can be very discouraging. I’m so grateful that there’s usually another Duke Engager there with me so we can have an open conversation with the hopes of a camper joining in. In all, breakout rooms are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get. In my lesson on Monday with Scout, we have three breakout room activities. One thing we are doing to hopefully help the awkwardness of breakout rooms is making them more familiar. So next week they are going to be designing websites for a cause and they can do it in teams or individually. So we are going to construct the breakout rooms around their project and hopefully, they will be interacting more in the activities. I am super nervous about our lesson, but also really excited for next week.