During the months of July and August, girls from all over Denver learned to love who they are, speak up for what they believe, intervene when they witness a wrong, discern and avoid negative peer pressure, and be a good friend and leader. Smart-Girl camp gave girls these skills and more in a summer program that was creative, fun, interactive and even, at times, silly.
“Our summer camp provides girls with this intense opportunity to really reflect on their lives outside of school and independent of their usual peer group,” said Sameen DeBard, program director for Smart-Girl. “Girls discover and develop skills they didn’t even know they had.”
Smart-Girl camp helps girls to develop leadership ability, group and social skills, problem solving and critical thinking skills, self-worth and more. The camp tackles topics such as peer pressure, bullying, refusal skills, communication and body image in a safe and diverse environment. Smart-Girls develop social-emotional intelligence, learn how to make healthy life choices, and have a great camp experience full of fun and friendship in the process.
“I actually use the skills I learned in Smart-Girl, and things are better between my friends and me now,” said a recent camper. “I feel more accepted at Smart-Girl than in any other part of my life.” The camp has such a positive impact on girls that many come back year after year. In fact, due to demand, the summer the program that traditionally serves girls going into 6th through 9th grades will be expanded to include 10th and 11th grade girls.
Smart-Girl is an activity-based program that empowers young adolescent girls to become confident, capable, self-reliant young women by giving them a chance to tackle the tough issues they deal with every day. The unique strength of Smart-Girl is utilizing the power of positive peer influence by pairing highly trained older teens and college-aged women with groups of middle school girls. These leaders are carefully selected and trained mentors who facilitate discussions and activities.
Smart-Girl camp, which is facilitated through Denver Jewish Day School’s Summer BLAST program, also meets on the school’s campus. DJDS is a welcoming environment that provides both indoor and outdoor space for Smart-Girls to play and create while learning about themselves.