GEORGETOWN – U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers organized Guyana’s third Camp G.L.O.W. (Girls Leading Our World) at the Kuru-Kuru Cooperative College, Linden Soesdyke Highway from August 12 to 19, 2013. Approximately 75 young girls ages 13 to 17 from across Guyana participated in activities that focused on teamwork, building self-esteem, goal-setting, decision-making, and creating healthy relationships and lifestyles.
U.S. Ambassador D. Brent Hardt visited the G.L.O.W. girls on August 13, as a special part of the week of leadership activities. During Ambassador Hardt’s interaction with the participants, he emphasized the importance for young women to take steps to embrace their potential as future leaders and strong women. He encouraged them to use the skills they learned at the camp to make a difference not only in their own lives, but also in the lives of members of their communities.
The United States is dedicated to supporting the development and empowerment of women and young girls in Guyana and views it as a crucial aspect of social and economic development. Camp G.L.O.W., a worldwide young women’s empowerment camp, was organized by the Gender and Development Volunteer Task Force of the U.S. Peace Corps in Guyana. The Peace Corps Guyana Gender and Development Task Force seeks to address issues of gender related to equality, human rights, and access to services; to build capacity and efficacy among women to improve the quality of life for all genders; and to serve as a resource group for all Volunteer work related to gender and development issues.
Camp Counselors and Junior Counselors underwent training so that they could facilitate an environment that allowed staff and campers to grow and learn together. Girls were encouraged all week long to participate during sessions, lead discussions, and to be open- minded and supportive towards one another. Some of the campers expressed that they had never had an opportunity like this before where they felt so comfortable in their environment and could let their voices be heard.
One camper stated, “Camp GLOW helped me to understand myself, to be the best you can be…I now know what it feels like to glow from the inside.”
Each girl was challenged to share their knowledge, take on a leadership role, and organize community service projects.
To ensure the success of this mission and Camp G.L.O.W., the Peace Corps Volunteers collaborated with the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports and local non-governmental organizations, including Red Thread, Linden Care, Hope for All, and Family Awareness Consciousness Togetherness (FACT). They also received support from Wings of Hope, Fenix Airways, Skywest, Bruster’s Ice Cream, and other local businesses. Prominent women leaders, including Simona Broomes of the Guyana Women Miner’s Organization (GWMO), Melcita Bovell from the Ministry of Education, Dwynette Eversly of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Center, Imarah Radix of S4 Foundation, Ingrid Goodman of PATOIS, and successful, female professionals from the U.S. Embassy and Peace Corps Guyana were invited to share their experiences in a series of inspirational talks with the girls.
Currently, Camp G.L.O.W. Guyana is looking to expand its network of community partners and to increase its sustainability so it can continue to empower and inspire young Guyanese women for years to come. If you are interested in learning more about Camp GLOW Guyana or would like to participate next year, please visit http://www.campglowguyana.org or e-mail email@example.com for more information. (US Embassy, Georgetown)