Health Day was a lot of fun, exclud­ing the impor­tant the pre­sen­ta­tion about sex­u­al health and con­tra­cep­tion. It was inter­est­ing, and I was very hap­py that the girls were ask­ing a lot of ques­tions, but I’m not sure that fun is the right word. Taek­won­do class was a blast though. A teacher from a local school came with 4 of her stu­dents. See­ing the stu­dents walk­ing around help­ing and cor­rect­ing the camp girls was great — the cor­rec­tions to their pos­es were com­ing from their peers.

We all cooked din­ner a healthy din­ner togeth­er, try­ing to rein­force the con­cepts from the nutri­tion pre­sen­ta­tion. We made a chick­en and veg­etable stir-fry, rice, pota­to pan­cakes, home­made apple­sauce, and a car­rot and pota­to puree. Every­thing except the puree was a big hit, because we didn’t cook the gar­lic enough and it was tad over­pow­er­ing. The girls all know how to cook, but we still had some tricks up our sleeves. I think we blew one girl’s mind with the plain steamed rice. She was start­ing to make it in typ­i­cal Mex­i­can fash­ion where you appar­ent­ly boil the rice for a bit first, then saute it in oil, and add toma­toes and oth­er sea­son­ing. She was con­vinced that just steam­ing it would nev­er work. When the rice came out both done and tasty, we felt very proud to have con­vinced her. It’s all about chang­ing per­spec­tives. Check.

The girls also met with their men­tors to dis­cuss the body-image draw­ings they had made on Day 2. Speak­ing with a men­tor after­wards, she com­ment­ed to me that her charges seem to be very put-togeth­er. So, she went on to chal­lenge them with some tough ques­tions about their futures. What do they want to be and think­ing about the path that would take them there. Specif­i­cal­ly, could they leave home to pur­sue a career, or even a high­er edu­ca­tion? Fam­i­ly is so impor­tant in these com­mu­ni­ties that the girls had a hard time answer­ing. They know they want an edu­ca­tion and are drawn to good, chal­leng­ing careers, but the real­i­ty of hav­ing to leave home to pur­sue those careers makes them pause. Most of us as men­tors or camp coun­selors have the point of view that of course they should leave home and get an edu­ca­tion to bet­ter their lives. How­ev­er, this par­tic­u­lar men­tor also took a step back and chal­lenged me to think about if that real­ly is nec­es­sary to be hap­py. If they want to stay in their com­mu­ni­ties, close to their fam­i­lies, maybe that is good. Over­all, the camp is not about telling them what is best and what they should do with their lives, but get­ting them to think about these issues and show­ing them a new per­spec­tive, whether that be with rice, yoga or education/career oppor­tu­ni­ties. All cred­it to friend and co-Vol­un­teer Tes­sa for putting togeth­er this amaz­ing camp and devel­op­ing the week’s pro­gram like she did. Just extra­or­di­nary what she can do and did. I’m so hap­py to have been involved, con­tribut­ing what I could, and hav­ing the whole expe­ri­ence. Three and half more days of camp to post about.

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The impor­tant pre­sen­ta­tion about sex­u­al health and con­tra­cep­tion

I was great to see all the note-tak­ing, and a lot of ques­tions where asked as well.

And the ses­sion includ­ed demos.

Each pre­sen­ter received a Camp Mari­posas shirt in thanks.

The girls each met with their men­tors to dis­cuss the body-image draw­ing they had done a few days before.

Men­tor and men­toree

It was great to see the engage­ment of the campers and men­tors.

Taek­won­do class demands respect. The teacher from a local school was fan­tas­tic and the girls sat qui­et­ly to watch.

The impres­sive stu­dents from the school

I mean, very impres­sive stu­dents.

Time to get down to busi­ness in taek­won­do class. We should have done this every day instead of yoga.

The girls from the taek­won­do school were won­der­ful, and it was great to see them help­ing their peers.

Quite a few girls seri­ous­ly shouldn’t be messed with

I won­der what she was pic­tur­ing on the punch­ing bag.

Some light con­di­tion­ing — hop­ping over the “rab­bit”

This exer­cise didn’t work this well in most cas­es, but there was a lot of gig­gling. So, that is anoth­er mea­sure of suc­cess.

The whole group

Pic­ture-tak­ing time. The camp girls were fas­ci­nat­ed by the taek­won­do school girls.

Then we had a pre­sen­ta­tion about nutri­tion, just before we all cooked a healthy meal togeth­er.

Chop­ping for the din­ner stir-fry

Grat­ing pota­toes for latkes, which were a huge hit because who doesn’t like giant tater tots.

Cook­ing our too-white chick­en for the stir fry. Most of the chick­en is much more yel­low here, so the girls were skep­ti­cal about this chick­en.

The Schmidt cam­era tele­scope tour was a big hit.

Posed and poised in front of the tele­scope.

Big smiles all around at the tele­scope

And, final­ly, at the end of the evening, lit­tle danc­ing