PREBLE COUNTY — YWCA Dayton is dedicated to “Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women” in Preble County. One of the ways the organization embraces its mission statement is with the Girls LEAD! Summer Camp, held annually in the county.
The camp is held both in June and July, with two weeks each filled with fun activities.
According to Girls LEAD! Youth/Teen Educator Destinye Arnold, the mission of the camp is to motivate, encourage, and empower all girls holistically with strength, courage, and wisdom. This a program for young ladies ages 11-18 focused on leadership development, self-awareness, healthy relationships, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and more.
“We are able to accomplish all of these things through in-school, out-of-school, and summer camp programming. While Girls LEAD! was launched in spring 2018, YWCA Dayton has provided girls programming since the 1880s,” Arnold said.
YWCA Preble County Manager Courtney Griffith added, “Camp provides a wide range of hands-on, experiential activities that build girls of strength, courage, and compassion. There are two Summer Camps, one held in June and one in July. We have been operating the summer camps in Preble County since 2016.”
Both the June and July camp offer similar activities, with minor differences in scheduling. Women’s Workshop Richmond taught the girls how to use power tools and they made two cornhole game sets for the camp. In July, they will be making a picnic table for the Preble County domestic violence shelter. They also enjoyed learning about genealogy, yoga, meditation, how to screen-press their own T-shirt, how to sew, the importance of fitness and nutrition, and heard from a career panel of women in education, military, government, counseling, and journalism.
The girls are working with local organizations including the Girl Scouts, District Library, Visual Art Center, Historical Society, Recovery and Wellness, YMCA Aquatic Center, and 4-H. They will be doing a campus visit to Edison State Community College and a community service project with Home Is The (HIT) Foundation.
YWCA Dayton partners with Eaton Community School, Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Preble County Office of Job and Family Services, and Salvation Army to make the camp possible.
According to Arnold and Griffith, camp is a success because it is different from other summer camps offered. This camp focuses on girls and strengthening their overall growth and development. Campers are surveyed, along with their parents and facilitators, in order to ensure that camp is well rounded and meeting the needs of all involved. Some girls who attended the June camp liked it so much that they already signed up for the July camp.
Girls LEAD! Executive Director Rochelle Garner added, “The YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. Girls LEAD! programming allows us to empower the next generation of female leadership in Preble County by teaching and developing important skills while having fun. It fulfills a gap for girl-focused programming in this community because there is not another girls-only program like it for this age group.”
“It is important for the YWCA Dayton to provide opportunities for young girls to grow and develop. A program such as Girls LEAD! gives girls the space to be creative, learn the importance of self, and develop and test their leadership skills. This program is vital because it helps set the foundation for healthy choices and healthy decisions that will lift girls above challenges as they come into adulthood,” Youth/Teen Educator Jasmine Garner said.
It is not too late to sign up for the July camp, which runs from July 15-26. Register online at ywcadayton.org/summercamps or call 937-336-5859.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH