Peace Corps - Camp GLOW

Phenomenal women were the core of Camp GLOW 1999, held in Ochotnica Górna, Poland, at the beginning of July 1999. Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is an English language and leadership training program for young women that was brought to Poland for the first time in 1997, and has since been held for three consecutive years. It was developed by Peace Corps Volunteers as a part of the Women in Development Committee (WID), and has been organized in several Eastern European Countries in cooperation with hostcountry individuals and organizations.

World Leaders: Camp Glow participants

Camp GLOW 1999 was an amazing success! The weeklong camp was offered free of charge to thirtyseven bright and motivated young women from Lubelskie and Podkarpackie Provinces. Camp GLOW was made possible through the support of the Democracy Commission of the United States Embassy in Warsaw, as well as many other generous donations from organizations and individuals. The sessions offered a mix of selfdiscovery discussions, worksheets and assessments, combined with physical activities, roleplays, and creative arts. The Peace Corps Volunteer counselors each led sessions exploring the skills and knowledge that prepare young women for brilliant and successful futures in professional, educational and everyday life.

Camp GLOW offered the young women lessons on how to protect themselves through selfdefense and kickboxing. We practiced meditation, stretching, yoga, and massage techniques as ways to combat the stress that may accompany the lifestyle of working women who are also mothers and wives.

When we were not in session, we played volleyball and Frisbee, and spent time hiking and sunbathing in the beautiful valley of Ochotnica Górna. The campers demonstrated their acting talents by portraying various situations regarding women in Poland. Everyone had the opportunity to perform a skit at the makeshift" Phenomenal Women Theater" inspired by the poem written by Maya Angelou. They developed roleplays during a problemsolving session led by Peace Corps Director Robert McClendon, dealing with the theme of sexual harassment, and entertained each other with their musical and acting abilities at the Camp GLOW Talent Show.

Special sessions took place this year to make Camp GLOW 1999 different from other camps. Everyone seemed to enjoy the dollmaking activity that was made possible by generous donations of odd materials such as fabric scraps, buttons, old jewelry, stockings, to name only a few.

The other unique session was the" Regional Conference on the Status of Women in Central and Eastern Europe" (CEE) designed as the democracy component of the camp. Representatives of eight CEE countries attended the conference, including Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia. Groups of five campers worked together to understand the problems of women in each country in regard to domestic violence, unequal job opportunities, women' s health, sexual harassment, and prostitution. Recommendations were discussed, and the participants finally agreed upon a regional declaration of the needs of women in the CEE.

The participants in Camp GLOW 1999 worked very hard and impressed the organizers with their dedication, creativity, and English language ability. As a special award, each camper was presented with a certificate of attendance, and a book or magazine donated by The World of English and The Peace Corps. Collectively, the campers expressed their wish to meet again and carry on the spirit of Camp GLOW by taking its message back to their schools and communities. We wish them all the best of luck in school and in their futures. They are all on the right track for success.

Robyn Needleman - Peace Corps Volunteer/Camp Director