Last year I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of Camp GLOW, a leadership camp for young women on the Colombian coast. As a counselor, I co-lead a group of five wonderful young women, lead multiple workshops, facilitated and took part in games and songs, supported wherever I was needed, and was amazed by how the girls interacted, grew, and took advantage of the unique opportunity that is GLOW.
This year, I returned to GLOW as a director, co-directing with two amazing friends and co-volunteers, Lindsay and Audrey, who I would not have made it through without. We also took on a spectacular junior director, who returned for her third year at Camp GLOW. She could run the entire show next year, she was so helpful and energetic. We had three other wonderful Colombian counterparts, 7 great counselors (PCVs), and 7 enthusiastic junior counselors (campers from last year who took on a leadership role of supporting a counselor and leading a group). Our counterparts were on top of any job we requested and our counselors took the lead whenever there was downtime or extended transitions due to last minute schedule changes. They were all absolute champs and the campers had a great experience with the positivity and enthusiasm the leaders showed.
Camp this year was held in a new location, a location that took us many months to find. It was a fairly strenuous process. In the small town outside of Cartagena, we came together with 38 girls from three departments (states) on the coast. This included four young women from my pueblo and the neighboring one. The preparations and logistics of the camp itself were an adventure in and of themselves.
Did we have to change dates last second because of a seemingly never-ending teacher strike? Yes.
Did we have conversations late each week for months and almost every night in the two weeks leading up to camp? Yes.
Were there some major issues to deal with at site? Yes.
Was there no water when we returned from a beach trip? Yes.
Did we sleep? Barely.
Did we try out some new activities this year? Yes.
Did we exercise every morning while a young puppy tried to play along? Yes.
Did we connect with lots of amazing, strong Colombian women of all ages? Yes.
Did we have a dance party when we were trapped due to rain? Yes.
Did some girls have the chance to see the beach for the first time? Yes.
Did we host a successful mini-camp where the girls planned and facilitated the activities for the majority of the kids in town? Yes.
Did we have a talent show in the dark when the electricity went out? Yes.
Did we love it all, the frustrating, amazing, silly, rough, intense, and deep moments? Yes.
It was vale la pena (worth it) to see and be a part of the girls and counselors thriving, making friends, learning, teaching, and having a blast!