I’m going to repeat some Face­book infor­ma­tion here because not every­one uses, or needs to use, that par­tic­u­lar site (or be con­nect­ed to me on that site). How­ev­er, I can give more back­ground and infor­ma­tion here. For this whole week, I’m help­ing at a friend’s lead­er­ship and empow­er­ment camp for young women here in Mex­i­co. The full name is “Camp Mari­posas: Mujeres Cam­bian­do el Mun­do”. This is a camp fol­low­ing the world­wide Camp GLOW (Girls Lead­ing Our World) mod­el, and it is the first of its kind for Peace Corps Mex­i­co.

Each day has a theme such as self-dis­cov­ery, oppor­tu­ni­ties, rela­tion­ships, health, and goals. Today was the wel­come day and the campers met their men­tors, who are all suc­cess­ful, pro­fes­sion­al woman asso­ci­at­ed with the INAOE cen­ter (the Nation­al Insti­tute for Astro­physics, Optics, and Elec­tron­ics) where the camp is being held. I helped go out to the rur­al com­mu­ni­ties where the girls are from to pick them up ear­ly this morn­ing. So ear­ly. Not that I’m com­plain­ing, but a 4:30am start to the day is damn ear­ly. Their small com­mu­ni­ties are about two hours away at the base of some beau­ti­ful moun­tains — Pico de Oriz­a­ba and Sier­ra Negra. When every­one was on time for their 8:00am and 8:30am pick-ups, we were off to a great start. We watched a lit­tle Bat­man on the bus ride back to town, and arrived to start the camp pro­gram with a tour of the cam­pus. Then we jumped right into activ­i­ties — which are bet­ter illus­trat­ed in the slideshow below.

The camp has been superbly orga­nized, but han­dling, in Span­ish no less, 24 teenagers between the ages of 14–18 is exhaust­ing. I’m think­ing today was the hard­est day, because of the ear­ly start and we had the most wran­gling to do. The rest of the week is filled with won­der­ful activ­i­ties, and we have a lot more help in the form of pre­sen­ters and activ­i­ty orga­niz­ers so that we should be able to sit for a few min­utes. There are 3 of us “full-time” staff run­ning the day-to-day (or is it hour-to-hour, or minute-to-minute?) camp oper­a­tion, even though I feel like I’m doing a lot less since I don’t real­ly have any of the coor­di­na­tion to do. I get to take a lot of pic­tures, among plen­ty of oth­er things.


Our sun­rise start to the day

Sun­rise on the moun­tain and our bus await­ing the first arrivals.

The first reg­is­tra­tions

The arrival at the cen­ter. The girls had a bit more lug­gage than we expect­ed. No prob­lem.

On the tour, our first activ­i­ty of the day.

the Meet Your Men­tor ses­sion

The first one-on-one time between the girls and their men­tors.

A pre­sen­ta­tion about the tele­scopes. We get a tour of the local one lat­er in the week.

Our first “get­ting to know each oth­er” activ­i­ty. Every­one had fun and par­tic­i­pat­ed, but these girls were not jump­ing to catch the rope and have their turn.

Every­one had to catch the rope and then tell the group a few things about them­self.

It was fun in the end though.

The sec­ond activ­i­ty was even more fun, and was even more like herd­ing cats. The girls were giv­en an ani­mal and they had to arrange them­selves in order of size, only using the animal’s sound.

Beau­ti­ful day all around.

And final­ly we had some free time.

Every­one let loose at the end of a fan­tas­tic first day.

I’m get­ting kind of punchy in my com­men­tary and just copy­ing and past­ing my cap­tions from Face­book, so it def­i­nite­ly time to go to bed. I’m leav­ing the house at 7:10am tomor­row, which is an improve­ment, but still plen­ty ear­ly.