Camp GLOSS to focus on building confidence in female youth
March 30, 2018
Summer camp has a way of creating camaraderie between youth. Therapist Jessica Werner still remembers her camp days in the Midwest, and she wants to help Summit County youth have similar experiences.
But, she wants to add an element of female empowerment.
Werner and Christian Fritze, both local therapists, plan to launch a new camp this summer for young women called Camp GLOSS. It will focus on helping teens develop strong self-esteem so they can become leaders. The acronym for the camp, GLOSS, stands for grit, leadership, opportunities, service and self. Registration is currently open.
The two began conversing about how to support young women and girls while they were in graduate school at Westminster College in Salt Lake City a few years ago.
"We asked ourselves, 'What can we do to help girls have confidence and move confidently in the world? What can we do to help them ask for what they want and need?'" Fritze said.
The discussion eventually led to the formation of a nonprofit and a summer camp.
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The camp has many purposes, but helping the girls develop self-assurance so they can seek and pursue opportunities is one of them. Developing healthy relationships with themselves and others is also key.
"I would love for girls to leave having an authentic connection and feeling more confident about their future, whatever that looks like," Werner said.
As therapists, Werner and Fritze both work with young women frequently, and they saw too many patterns to ignore.
"I continue to see the same issues coming up — self-esteem, not knowing how to deal with social media, not knowing what they want to do with their life, not feeling confident in their relationships," Werner said.
She said that those are challenges that affect almost all youth, but there are few platforms to openly discuss them. Creating a camp seemed like the perfect solution.
"There is something about being in a small group and being secluded that really forces you to be vulnerable in a way that changes you, in most cases, for the better," Werner said. "I think there is something about that intimate camp setting that can be profound in development."
At the camp, there will be outdoor activities, such as hiking and swimming, along with career readiness ones, including personality tests to find the girls' strengths and weaknesses and a "speed dating" style event in which teens will talk to female professionals in different careers, Fritze said.
"It's really a balance of de-stressing, unplugging, having fun and also working on these real world things," Werner added.
Participants will also have time for yoga, meditation and journaling, she said.
The camp is scheduled to run from July 9 to 13 for girls entering ninth and tenth grades and July 16 to 20 for girls entering seventh and eighth grades. It is scheduled to take place at the DeJoria Center in Kamas for the older teens and at the Summit County Library in Park City during the session for the younger girls. It is not an overnight camp, but Werner said she hopes to continue to grow the camp and add that element one day. The camp is open to girls from all over.
She and Fritze also plan on creating an after-school program for seniors at Park City High School, which would cover all of these topics. They have also discussed the possibility of hosting a camp for young men in the future.
To register, go here.