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.

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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.