Summer camp is officially over for the year, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking about it. I had the chance to observe several programs at our summer camp this year, all of which helped me see how Girls Inc. programs help create positive change in girls’ lives. During a few of these programs, girls had the opportunity to do their own writing—first in our Female Authors programs, and again in a program facilitated by Young Audiences of Indiana

I was excited about observing both of these programs. I hoped that I would get to see some real creativity from the girls, and I wasn’t disappointed. In Female Authors, girls wrote essays and poems about a variety of topics, including what they had learned at Girls Inc. One of these poems was even shared at the Touchstone Awards in July. The program that Young Audiences led, however, was where I really had the chance to see girls’ creativity. In this program, girls created interpretive dances based on poems by famous female poets, and then wrote their own individual and group poems. 

Our girls, ages 9-14, created their own poems based on Maya Angelou’s poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.” Each girl wrote about some of the things that frightened her, and the “magic charm” that helped her overcome these fears. Their individual poems were combined into one large poem, in which they listed their fears, but then confidently repeated “Life doesn’t frighten me at all!” It was amazing to see these girls acknowledge that some things frighten them, but then boldly confront and overcome these fears through their writing. 

Meanwhile, our girls, ages 6-8, were also writing. As they worked, they talked about what they can be, do, and think when they grow up. “I can be a scientist, I can do experiments, and I can think about anything!” said Symone, 8. Charleigh, 7, said, “I can be a meteorologist—or maybe a doctor.” Not only did these young girls have the opportunity to express themselves creatively through poetry and dance, they were given another important opportunity to set goals for their futures. 

This program helped our girls learn how they can express themselves creatively, and fit perfectly with this year’s “In Her Own Words” theme. More importantly, it gave girls the chance to do so in a way that helped them become strong, smart, and bold—whether they were being strong and bold by facing their fears, or smart by thinking about the future.