Our eighth and final week of Duke Engage Orange County consisted primarily of reflection and revision. On Monday morning, we joined the teen program facilitators and director of Girls Inc. for a debriefing session aimed at discerning what was successful from the weeks of Eureka! camp and what can be improved in the future. Our leaders Laura and Anna had created a document with our training and work schedules from each week of the program, and we went through each unit of the summer as a group and offered our commentary on elements we had found particularly helpful (for me, this included the STEM training documents and examples and the mandated reporter training from the first couple of weeks) and components we felt had room for growth (my comments in the document focused on streamlining the recruitment process and adjusting the visible Canvas infrastructure for students to be more chronological). It was encouraging and impressive to see Girls Inc.’s openness to feedback, and it was clear to me that this culture of continual improvement has played a significant role in Eureka! camp’s success throughout the years.
Another one of our main tasks over the past two weeks has been to read All We Can Save, a collection of essays and poetry curated and edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson that sets out to highlight a wide range of women’s voices in the environmental movement. Overall, I’ve found myself impressed with the immense variety of perspectives that have managed to fit in just over 400 pages, and the indigenous authors in particular have drawn my attention to worldviews and solutions that are too often underrepresented and marginalized in the larger discourse. In retrospect, though, I do believe that a book with such an emphasis on the global nature of the climate crisis and the need for true community and a diversity of leadership would have benefitted from the inclusion of perspectives from outside of North America. Despite this perceived shortcoming, I’ve enjoyed preparing for our seminars on the reading and am grateful for the opportunity to learn from my fellow interns, both this week and in the program as a whole.