Why Camp GLOW was worth it...
1. Creating a GLOW melting pot: It was so great to see girls engaging with others from different villages, backgrounds, and religions.
2. I was treated like a celebrity by my campers, who constantly said they wished I would visit them in their villages and wanted my autograph and pictures on the last day.
3. For the majority of the girls and even the Jordanian counselors, this was their first experience sleeping outside the home. A lot of the girls fell right into the rhythm of living in the dorm rooms, and it was great to see them embrace independence so readily (but also frustrating because every night there would be giggles or loud conversations behind closed doors!).
4. I wore short sleeves the entire time, since it was a girls-only camp.
5. Playing sports outside with these girls was inspiring, because in my village, I am the only female over 10 years old who does any physical activity outdoors. During our sports activities, the girls would first ask me if there would be any men who would come, and after assuring them that it was only females, the campers happily shed their head scarves and long-sleeves to reveal beautiful cascades of black hair and short-sleeved shirts that had logos such as "Abibas" and "Salt Lake City Men's Choir." I thought they would be tentative about playing sports, but many of the girls jumped at the chance to play basketball, freeze tag, and broom hockey.
6. These girls spoke better English than expected. In my village, there are only two girls who I feel have an acceptable level of English to enter university. At this camp, though, because we had selected the brightest and most motivated girls, I was ecstatic to hold conversations with girls that went beyond, "What's your name? Are you Chinese?" Camp GLOW girls are amazing; they asked questions such as "How do I go to pharmacy school? I want to get a scholarship to study in the States, but I want to ask you if it's impossible or possible." In the recycling workshop, one girl commented that, "It's good to recycle plastic because plastic does not have good biodegradable. It stays like this for a long time, maybe over 50 years."
7. A creative outlet for the girls: They decorated mugs, designed journals, made self-collages, drew community maps...and each GLOW team made amazing team cheers! Our last-night talent show was equally entertaining!
8. By the third day, many girls were coming up to me each morning, and asking when Sports Time would be. Once I told them, they'd excitedly clap their hands and ask if we were going for a night walk, or playing basketball, or going to the new university gym, or learning a new game.
9. The campers were introduced to so many role models through the guest speakers we brought in each day. It was inspiring for them to meet Jordanian female professionals who held jobs other than public school teachers!
10. The sweetest ending to a 2-year rollercoaster ride in Jordan!