Many Peace Corps Volunteers in Moldova enjoyed summer camp recently — not as campers, but as counselors and mentors.
Some participated in Wave Week Moldova, an intensive residential leadership and community service program that empowers young people to become volunteers and leaders. Two of them, Morgan and Chris, wrote eloquently about how Wave Week made a big impact on everyone involved — 95 campers, 20 Moldovan youth staff and five Peace Corps Volunteers.
“I have absolutely loved seeing the passion and devotion for serving others come to life in the eyes of my delegates,” Morgan wrote. “Participating in this camp has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my service so far.”
Interacting with the campers “reconnected me to why I applied to become a volunteer in the first place,” wrote Chris. “As I talked with these young people every evening about their day’s activities, they inspired me more than I could possibly motivate them.”
Other volunteers participated in GLOW TOBE Moldova, shown above, a week-long summer camp where young people learn community leadership skills and expand their own self-awareness and confidence. The program, whose full name is Girls Leading Our World – Teaching Our Boys Excellence, began in Romania in 1995 and has spread around the world with Peace Corps support. Here in Moldova, volunteers work with local counterparts to provide activities ranging from leadership workshops to singing, dancing, making S’Mores and tie-dying T shirts. The program continues throughout the year with activities across Moldova.
Another summer camp was GirlsGoIT, which provides dozens of girls with ten days of intensive training to learn job skills in science, engineering and technology. This year the girls learned about coding, robotics, 3D printing and entrepreneurship, among other things, and also how to serve as advocates to empower other girls to pursue STEM careers. My volunteer friend Susan, who has a long IT background, is shown below teaching some of them.
Then there are my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers who created their own summer camps in Căușeni, Telenești, Călinești and other communities. I can’t list them all here but it’s impressive to hear what they accomplished, often with little or no external resources.
These camps change lives, and not only for the campers. My fellow volunteers who participated gave all of these young Moldovans a summer to remember.
[Thanks to everyone who took these photos!]