By Riley Manning
TUPELO – Young ladies from the area will have the opportunity to bolster their self-esteem this summer with the second annual Camp G.I.R.L.Y.
Camp G.I.R.L.Y. – which stands for Girls, In Reality, Love Yourselves – aims at empowering girls from third through fifth grade.
Started last summer by then-sophomore Tupelo High School student Warner Wills King, the day camp drew 27 participants. This year, King said she is planning for at least 50.
“I wanted to inspire girls to feel more confident, and live with a more positive image of themselves,” she said. “It’s important for them to not let social expectations hold them back.”
King said the camp tries to impact girls before they reach upper middle school grades and high school, highly tempestuous grades for all students, but especially girls. Camp G.I.R.L.Y., she said, gives them a firm foundation before they reach such tough ages.
“Third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders are definitely still children whose feelings are hurt easily,” King said. “The students last year were most worried about not looking the right way, trying to impress other girls or teachers, or being too bossy. Each girl was different, but each one had their own insecurities.”
The day camp uses games and activities based on interaction to improve social skills and strengthen bonds between the students.
“Last year we focused on inner beauty,” King said. “But this year I want to go wider and focus more on why they are important, and the difference they can make in the world now and when they get older.”
The other staffers who help King work the camp are also a crucial component. She chose counselors from age 14 to around age 18, as close to the campers’ ages as possible while still old enough to be mentors.
“The message is a lot stronger when girls are congratulated by a peer than by an adult,” King said.
King said camp would be hosted by All Saints’ Episcopal Church. Lasting from July 21 through July 25, the camp is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Camp G.I.R.L.Y. is offered at no cost, and King said she is still in need of campers and staffers. Those interested can reach her at (662) 322-9897 or (662) 1337, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org