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. Peace Corps was an experience of a lifetime that I will cherish as long as I live. I have made amazing friends, functioned in multiple languages at a time, and learned so many lessons about myself and the world around me. I’m so grateful to have had this experience and thank you for following along in the 2 year journey.
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!