GOF Program Manager Rachael Carmichael shares details of our 2017 Camp My Moment in Nicaragua. 2017 brought 50 girls from six different orphanages, ages twelve to eighteen, to camp in the mountains of Nicaragua for five days in December. The camp focuses on issues of self-esteem, assertive communication, goal setting, and healthy decision making.
As the warm air changed to cold, I could feel the nervous anticipation radiating from all 50 campers as our bus approached the mountain camp that would be our home for the next five days. The girls clutched their hot pink sequined backpacks and pillows with cartoon pillowcases and stared out the windows with big eyes. The bus bumped and bounded up the last hill and I knew camp was starting.
The girls unfolded from their seats and excitedly poured out of the bus with their bags in tow. With almost twice as many campers in attendance as the year prior, our bins overflowed with an abundance of camp supplies.
The counselors called off campers names, assigning them to their specific cabins, and passed out their brightly colored bandanas. Each girl grabbed their very own Finish Line bag filled with various essential personal products. The most prized possession of the goody bag were the fresh pair of socks and a donated sweatshirt, especially in the brisk mountain air. The campers had traveled from six different orphanages, scattered across Nicaragua to the beautiful northern mountains for Camp Mi Momento.
We gathered for the first evening huddle and the camp directors energetically explained the rules and schedule for the week. The night ended with the shouting of the camp motto that would be repeated throughout the week, “Que hora es?!” What time is it? Fifty of the sweetest and most excited voices rang out, “Es Mi Momento!” It's my moment!
The week consisted of daily charlas (lessons) which focused on issues of self-esteem, assertive communication, coping skills and other topics of self-worth and empowerment. Hikes, tie-dye, dance parties, crafts, campfires, and shared stories were peppered through the days and evenings.
By the end of camp tears filled the eyes of campers and counselors alike. Girls from different parts of the country exchanged addresses and promised to write and never forget each other. As the bus pulled away the the girls happily chatted and laughed - a marked difference from the quiet nervousness five days prior.