Tag Archives: camp

GLOW/TOBE

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My last week in Romania was spent at Jeremy’s site in Valea Calgureasca at the last ever PCRO GLOW/TOBE camp and I couldn’t have ended my service on a better note. The camp had an extremely rocky start due to an emergency change of venue about 4 days before the camp was set to start which, in turn, caused many other issues such as communication problems, travel adjustments, and lack of resources. Throughout the week we felt like we were flying by the seat of our pants trying to plan activities and constantly having to re-arrange the schedule.

This year was the first time SPV had a co-ed camp which included GLOW and TOBE together and it proved to be quite an interesting experience. Throughout the camp, we at the girls’ camp had our fair share drama and minor discipline issues that we had to deal with and with the boys being just one floor below the girls, we had a whole other set of issues that we didn’t even think about before hand. Despite the issues, the kids had a great experience and I do think there were more benefits of having the two camps together than withdrawals. And at the end of the day, if they went home with even a few pieces of knowledge and experience that empowered them and made an impact in their lives, that is enough for me and I can call it a success.

I also have to send a shout out to what i consider the best working team that I have been a part of during my service. We had three volunteers come from Moldova (Kim, Matt, Julie) along with having our very own Abby, Jon, Stephen and Jeremy and our HCN from SPV Andreea. The 9 of us formed a fabulous team and I enjoyed working with everyone and loved the passion and creative problem solving that everyone brought to the table.

I’m back in the states now which is just a whirlwind of emotions that I honestly haven’t processed yet. I also would like to announce that I do plan on keeping up with this blog once I head to Ireland at the end of the summer so you all can keep up with my misadventures.

CLICK HERE FOR CAMP PICTURES

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As many of you know, I’ve been working very hard with a fellow volunteer and some host country nationals to create a training of the trainers conference for future GLOW/TOBE camp facilitators. We are also working on putting on our own GLOW and TOBE camps this summer and could really use your help. Due to economic constraints everywhere, grant funds are very limited to us and we are reaching out to all of our US contacts to help us raise funds to put on these amazing camps. I would really appreciate your help and contribution to make these camps a success. They really do leave a great lasting impression on the participants.

Here is a little background info/history about the camps. Remember GLOW stands for Girls Leading our World and TOBE stands for Together Our Boys Excel. They are the same principle of camp only geared toward a specific sex.

The GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camps were initially started by female Peace Corps volunteers serving in Romania in 1995. Since then, the GLOW camp model has spread across the entire Peace Corps world and has been adapted by volunteers to meet the needs of their specific countries. They have become the main camps within the Peace Corps community that are run by women, for women.

GLOW camps take place during the summers and bring together young women throughout the entire country that want to create a social change within their communities. The goal of GLOW camps is to develop leadership and communication skills within young Romanian women to become more productive citizens. This goal is accomplished through a weeklong camp that is specifically designed to teach the beneficiaries about community project development and implementation, self-awareness, activism, and career and life development. In addition, the camps strive to build beneficiaries’ self esteem and confidence, increase their assertiveness, and to encourage them to live healthier lives through personal health and STI/AIDS prevention sessions along with physical health and sport sessions as well.

Every participant is required to complete his or her own project after leaving the camp and we have seen some great ideas spring from our camps. The current NGO that we work with was actually co-founded by a GLOW graduate who is now the main organizer of GLOW and TOBE camps.

Please follow this link below and donate! Your help would be immensely appreciated!

https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=403-140

 

Back to Civilization

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So here I am, sitting at my kitchen table listening to Prince, and waiting for my pasta to boil in the apartment where I will spend the next two years of my life. Looking back on since the last time I posted, so many amazing things have happened! I left off telling you all about swear in and how fun that whole event was.  I returned to Targoviste Friday afternoon hung out, napped, and packed. I treated my host family to a goodbye and thank you dinner that night. I let them pick where they wanted to go and we went to a restaurant called Panorama which is up on very large hill that overlooks the entire city. The view was phenomenal and I felt like a local when I ran into Jeremy’s host sister who is a waitress there. When we got back, they  came into my room and gave me a goodbye present and that is when the waterworks started flowing. To think, three months ago, a family took a random American stranger into their house in hopes that she will somehow benefit their country.  During my time with the Ionescu family, I have experienced a great deal within the city and southern region of Romania. They have taught me so much and I consider them my Romanian family.

 

My host parents, Ion and Mariana dropped me off at the train station at 4am and I, along with Ester, Nick, and Jessica set out on our train ride to Ploiesti.  After about a 2 hour train ride, Ester and I got off at Ploiesti sud and there we waiting for our train that was going to take us to the GLOW camp. We had a blast riding the various trains that were constructed most likely during the 60s or 70s. After a total of 11 hours of traveling, we finally made it to Simbrea where we had Miha, one of the amazing host country nationals that organized this camp along with Gretchen, a 26er pick us up.

 

The next week was spent with some of the most amazing girls I have ever gotten the privilege to meet and work with. The girls came from all over the country and it was so refreshing to see such energy and potential in all of them. Throughout the week we worked on things one would work on in a leadership camp; girl power, communication, leadership skills, sex education, teamwork, and project development.  Sheila, our Country Director, and Libby, the U.S. Ambassador’s wife joined us for two days to work on our community project (mosaic in front of the local high school and sprucing up the main hall) and teach the girls about project development and how to implement what they have learned. By the time Friday night came around, and the girls were having to say bye to each other, everyone was sad to go, including the counselors. I am so glad to have met Gretchen and Chelsea, the group 26ers which are on their way out and wish we could have been able to work together more. I did get to know Miha, and her friend Ale which are both very creative and are the backbone of the GLOW camp. I hope to work with them so we can have a repeat next summer.

 

After another 11 hour train ride, I arrived in Ilva Mica at 4:09am where my community counterpart’s husband picked me up. As soon as my made it through my apartment door I crashed. When I woke up I started to unpack and take care of some housekeeping. I learned that I did not have a gas tank for my stove yet, and only had water in the kitchen sink. I finally found the valve for the bathroom water and as i turned it on, i heard a loud ::whoosh:: and got soaked. Apparently, the random little faucet that sticks out of the wall that was used for the previous tenants’ washing machine does not close all the way and not only did I get a surprise shower, my entire bathroom, floor to ceiling, and part of my hallway did too.  After 3 days, I finally got it fixed so i was able to take a proper shower yesterday which was the most glorious thing I have experienced in the past 2 weeks. Today I finally got someone to help me with hooking up the butane tank to my stove and I was able to cook my first real meal! No more bread and zacusca (ajvar for you serbs) for me!

 

My First Real Meal

 

I am slowly but surely starting to move get aquainted with my town. Tonight, if the rain lets up, my community counterpart, Loredana, and I have a date to take a walk around the town away from the 2 main streets that I have already learned. Below you’ll find some pictures from swear in and camp.

 

Until next time,

Va Pup!!!!

 

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