This summer, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School is offering girls in grades 6 through 8 the opportunity to develop STEAM, confidence, and leadership skills during a series of one-week summer camp offerings known as Camp Inspire.
Each week-long session offers a different STEAM opportunity to explore, such as the Beauty of Chemistry, Drone Rescue, or Make Your Own Musical, and an opportunity to participate in meaningful and engaging activities and discussions that celebrate the awesomeness of being a girl.
“Many people do not realize that a girl’s confidence drops by as much as 30% between their tween and teen years, while a boy’s confidence increases by 300%,” says Anita Roberson, Leader of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at Gwynedd. “So, it’s really important that we acknowledge that and are very intentional about helping girls, especially those who are interested in non-traditional career fields, to remain focused on their interests and faithful in their positive and affirming beliefs about themselves.”
Each day, Camp Inspire students spend the first half of their day engaging in their chosen STEAM experience, and the second half of the day strengthening their self-esteem and confidence.
“Gwynedd uses the Confidence Code for Girls by Katy Kay and Claire Shipman as a general framework for discussion. However, we have also developed our own ‘confidence curriculum’ that leverages readings, case studies, videos, and small group discussion to explore identity, self-esteem, failure, and risk-taking,” shares Anita who also serves as the camp’s director.
Confidence Camp sessions are led by near-peers, current Gwynedd students who apply to become Camp Inspire Counselors and are trained to lead the Confidence Camp group sessions and daily challenges.
Camp Inspire Counselors also inspire the girls to show respect, kindness and mercy to one another and to be intentional about building friendships with each other. Gwynedd’s dynamic space creates an atmosphere that makes it easy to execute the Confidence Camp curriculum.
“We have really great space here,” said Anita. “For example, our Learning Commons, which is where a lot of the camp magic happens, is this amazing modern space that has indoor and outdoor areas where students can break into small groups to collaborate or transition to larger, open areas for student demonstrations and performances.”
Public speaking, journal writing, demonstrations, and negotiating are skills that are fostered during both the STEAM and Confidence Camp portions of Camp Inspire.
Not only was Camp Inspire developed to provide a gateway of exploration and confidence building for girls who are interested in STEAM, but it also provides a means by which the Montgomery County-based school can advance its Mercy mission. “At Gwynedd, we recognize that we have incredible STEAM resources that many students in the Greater Philadelphia area do not have access to throughout the school year,” Anita explained.
“Our belief statements acknowledge that we believe in the strength of our community, the value of education, and the power of women. Thus, we are very intentional about not only recruiting students locally but also extending our outreach to include middle school-aged students who traditionally have not had access to quality STEAM programming,” she says.
CAMP INSPIRE SESSIONS
Camp Inspire is offered throughout the summer beginning on June 20th and concluding in late July. Each camp – Drone Rescue, Make Your Own Musical (MYOM), Beauty of Chemistry, Electronics and Engineering and Art: Power Portraits – is offered for one weeklong segment (MYOM is offered twice) and students can apply to attend a maximum of two different week-long camps. Each camp has a STEAM and Confidence Camp component.
Camp Inspire only accepts 16 students per camp offering. Students must apply and need-based scholarships are available.
HOW DO YOU APPLY
Camp applications are currently being accepted, though space is limited. Those who are interested in the weeklong camps are encouraged to apply early. Additional details and applications can be found by clicking here or here.