This summer, KUA hosted the Girls’ Leadership Camp. GLC, passion project of Dean of Community Life Brooklyn Raney, is a week-long summer camp for girls entering grades 6 through 9 from around the world with “the goal of empowering young women to be leaders.” KUA’s campus serves as the perfect backdrop for this camp with a plethora of nature, hiking, and camping opportunities in our own backyard.
GLC has grown dramatically from its inaugural year in 2011, and now has former campers serving as counselors. Raney describes her inspiration to start a summer camp for young girls as a natural progression. “I was finishing up my graduate degree [at New York University] in Educational Theatre and my advisor, Christina Marin, asked me, ‘What do you want to do with this education?’ I told her I want to empower young women to be leaders.” When GLC became a reality a short time later, Raney reported back to her advisor and, to Raney’s surprise, Marin’s response was an eager, “When should I be there?”
In addition to Raney and Marin, GLC’s staff includes co-founder, and acclaimed speaker and author, Shanterra McBride, additional Kimball Union-affiliated personnel, and a small army of former-campers turned counselors, almost entirely comprised of Kimball Union Alumni and students. Raney elaborates, “I knew creating an opportunity for young women would aid in strengthening our culture on campus. GLC dually serves its campers and our high school population by giving current students opportunities to engage in workshops, and to model positive leadership.”
Aligning with GLC’s motto, I am who I am, campers explore big topics that range from communication to collaboration, girl dynamics to middle school, gossip to cliques. Raney explains, “A lot of girls are battling supposed-to-syndrome; they are struggling because society wants them to be something other than who they are… we teach them, if you can look in the mirror at the end the day and say I am who I am with confidence and conviction, then you’re doing okay.”
The week is packed with activities designed to build confidence, trust, and, of course, leadership through overcoming obstacles. This year, in addition to lots of hiking, camping, and cooking for themselves on the trails, campers also traveled to Girls at Work in Manchester, New Hampshire, a program dedicated to helping girls discover their self-worth through building. While in Manchester, GLC campers built picnic tables from scratch, traveled to University of New Hampshire to participate in their ropes course, visited the first lady of New Hampshire, Valerie Sununu, to learn about community service, and created real-life social entrepreneurship projects that could generate a scholarship fund for GLC. At the end of the week, each camper drafts a leadership creed in order to set goals for themselves for the upcoming school year.
In December, campers return to KUA to check in with each other, the staff, and meet new campers at GLC’s one-day Winter Boost, packed with fun activities that are designed to do what the name implies – give everyone a boost! For more information, click here
or follow GLC on Instagram @glc_iamwhoiam.