Imagine changing your life in just one short week!

This is just one of the descriptions girls who attend Girl Power have used to talk about their experience at camp. Girl Power is one of the longest running programs of the CNWRC, and over the past year, we have been focusing all our energy on raising funds to subsidize girls so they can join their peers in this week-long summer camp throughout Colchester County.

Girl Power is an initiative that the CNWRC began back in 2003, when we began to explore gender-based programs for youth and it has evolved over the years. Girl Power now begins in July and is an inclusive program just for young people ages 8-11 who identify as female and who want to participate in a summer program in a safe, supportive and creative learning environment. The program offers empowerment activities, science experiments, recreation and physical activity, as well as crafts and games.

While there is a small cost to attending camp ($15/day), we try to ensure that all girls have the opportunity to participate in camp by offering full subsidies to a limited number of youth. We subsidized 10 girls in 2016. In 2017, we have raised more than $5,000 to subsidize 33 girls, significantly improving access for families and girls who need it.

The rationale behind Girl Power is simple; we believe that by targeting girls at a particular stage in their development, and offering them support, understanding and knowledge, we are giving them the tools they need to develop healthier relationships and more positive self-esteem so they can grow into strong, independent women. Studies have shown that gender-based programs like Girl Power can help improve educational aspirations as well as improved outcomes. We want to offer girls the opportunity to grow through learning new skills, enjoying laughter, building friendship and exploring the joys of being girls. We also seek to create a fun place for every young person to build authentic relationships with each other and with the Women’s Centre.

By offering camps throughout Colchester County and not just in Truro, we try to ensure that all girls living in rural Colchester have the same opportunities to participate as those living in Truro. Last year’s camps were at various locations across Colchester County and this year we are pleased to announce seven Girl Power camps will be hosted in the following locations:

Truro Fire Hall, July 4-7

Bible Hill Fire Hall, July 10-14

Maitland Community Centre, July 17-21

Masstown United Church, July 24-28

Brookfield Fire Hall, July 31-August 4

Tatamagouche Fraser Cultural Centre, August 8-11

Truro Fire Hall, August 14-18

While the Girl Power camps target ages 8-11, we have recognized the value in providing peer-based support and this year we are encouraging young women ages 12-15 to participate in camp as Junior Leaders. This not only allows girls who have aged out of Girl Power to continue to grow with us, but it helps these girls learn leadership skills by helping develop and lead activities, and philanthropy and community development by participating as volunteers in a flexible, informal environment that supports personal exploration and experimentation. For the past three years we have had parents ask that we continue to take their 12 and 13 year olds; we are evolving to meet these needs.

We feel very fortunate that through funding from both the Nova Scotia Summer Skills Incentive program and the Federal Government Canada Summer Jobs program we are able to offer this program to residents of Colchester County and we have hired some amazing young women, with excellent experience in recreation and program development who will guide and lead our young girls in a summer of growth.

We hope that parents of young girls will take advantage of this summer program; unfortunately there is limited space, so parents do need to register as soon as possible.

For more information or to register, please contact the Central Nova Women’s Resource Centre at admin@cnwrc.ca. If people would like to support Girl Power, they can go directly to www.canadahelps.org and click on Central Nova Women’s Resource Centre.