Gender and Youth Leadership Camp, will be held November 7th-10th, 2019. The four-day camp will serve 70 9-14 aged youth leaders from eight communities throughout Central and Eastern Thailand. The camp will be run by local youth, as well as five Peace Corps Volunteers and their respective counterparts. The purpose of the camp is to equip students with knowledge and skills in seven areas: Gender Equality, Self-Esteem, Positive Identity and Self-Confidence, Leadership, Healthy Living, Aspirations and Goal-Setting, and Volunteerism. One day will be spent learning about effective leadership; on this day, students will apply what they have learned by leading their own camp sessions. These students will also leave with a better sense of gender, sex, gender norms and gender violence, and will feel comfortable having conversations about such topics at their schools. The framework of the camp has been structured to encourage students and counterparts to take their new knowledge and skill sets home and implement long-term projects and/or clubs related to gender development projects.
Eight students from the community and one counterpart have already attended a 2018 Girls Leading Our World/Boys Respecting Others (GLOW/BROS) camp in Thailand. One counterpart attended a training of trainers session which consisted of a two day training for counterparts to prepare for lesson planning and camp facilitation. Counterparts within the local community are starting a Leadership Group prior to the camp, so a strong group of student leaders may be an example for their peers as well as being facilitators at the camp. Having already had experience with a Gender and Youth Leadership Camp, the community is eager to participate in further activities and continue pursuing the positive impact this camp has had on the local youth.
As well as time, counterparts and government staff are investing their energy in co-planning the activities and camp program. They are the main point of communication between other key players such as resort staff and the schools attending. The community is also providing materials for the camp and transporting students and materials to and from the resort on the days of the camp.
Gender and Youth Leadership Camp will reach beyond the confines of the one-time camp experience. The last day of the camp will be dedicated to formulating a collaborative action plan with the youth and counterparts, allowing them to serve as role models for their peers and share the lessons taught in the camp with the members of their own communities. Through community support and contribution, youth will be able to implement their own projects post-camp in their own communities, thus providing a widespread impact in a number of communities in Central and Eastern Thailand.