Camp GLOW in Kosrae was a little bit different. I don't know how it got started, but Kosrae has an active Girl Scout chapter and each village has their own troop of girls. I did some background research, and Girl Scouts USA (the cookie-selling ones) only exists internationally for expat children. Somewhere along the way it caught on here and the name stuck, so local girls get together as Girl Scouts and participate in different events around the community. I am still unclear on how things have worked in the past, but every summer the leaders gather all of the Girl Scouts for a week of overnight camping in some capacity.
The Girl Scouts range in age from 6-18 ,so right off the bat I knew we were working with a different kind of animal. Though I personally feel it is extremely important for Camp GLOW to include sexual health sessions and information, it is not an appropriate topic for all of the age ranges we would be hosting. Srue, the Girl Scout Board President and I worked together to schedule programming and workshops that would be beneficial (and duh, FUN!) for everyone involved.
As for programming, I think we did a pretty good job. We had local representatives from KIRMA, a local NGO, come to talk about waste reduction, the environment, and they even gave out prizes to the extra good listeners. We had some public health speakers come to talk to the girls about hygiene and first aid, one of the Girl Scout leaders talked about the importance of education, and a pastor's wife (esteemed community leader) discussed alcohol abuse with the girls. I also invited the 2 female US Army soldiers that are currently on island (a group is here working on different projects around the island) to talk to the girls about what a great, and unique, opportunity the US military is for them. (Micronesians are allowed to join US military per the Compact Agreement) They had a great time with the girls and even came back later in the week to teach them basic marching skills! We also had cultural sessions on plate-making and cooking.
I was excited about camp because not only was I once a Girl Scout, but I have also been a camp counselor. As Camp GLOW got closer, dreams of silly songs and games filled my head. One of the most important thing I have learned working with kids in the US is that keeping them busy is super important. Extra down time is an opportunity for the kids to get bored and their energy levels go completely out the window, along with their moods. Rest is important, too, but nobody wants to sit around at camp, right?
The thing with kids in Kosrae, though, is that they aren't familiar with the "getting bored" concept. Kids here can't just go to the movies or sit down and play video games, so they get creative. More often than not, as soon as there's down time you'll see kids crowd together for a game of jacks or marbles, or a volleyball will randomly appear. If they don't have those, the girls will sit around and literally braid each others' hair for hours (not joking). So while I was eager to teach allll these new songs and allll these new games, the girls were just as happy hitting a volleyball around. And understandably so, because volleyball doesn't require a translator and 5 facilitators for the younger girls, haha. After the first day I realized that it was okay to have time to sit around and play cards (for hours on end) between the scheduled workshops. It was actually a nice opportunity for me to get to know some of the girls that came to Lelu from the other villages.
Overall I think we did a good job taking advantage of our resources. My hope for next year is to start the planning earlier so we can secure outside funding for extras (Tie dye! S'mores!). I would also like to facilitate separate sessions for the older girls that address the sexual health issues that often go ignored.