The Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) and Boys United In Leadership Development (BUILD) youth development camp will provide a safe environment for students across the Northern, Northeast and Savannah Regions of Ghana to learn about themselves, build self-confidence, set professional and academic goals, and to gain leadership skills that will allow them to excel in the classroom and become youth leaders in their communities. Peace Corps Volunteers in these three regions will have the opportunity to bring two students in Junior High School to the camp, one boy and one girl. These students will also be joined by about 15 hearing-impaired students from schools for the deaf in the Northern and Upper West Regions of Ghana. Participants at the camp will be involved in discussions and activities focused on building their self-confidence and self-esteem, positive decision making, goal setting, stigma reduction of the deaf community, being a good leader, money management and savings, gender equality, and a variety of health subjects (nutrition, malaria prevention, sexual health, etc.). Most sessions during the camp will be led by Ghanaians from a variety of NGOs partnering with Peace Corps Volunteers to run the camp; this will provide camp attendees with positive role models who they can easily relate to. The campers will also be split into smaller groups, each of which will have a mentor who is a successful Ghanaian young adult. Upon completion of camp, participants will become peer educators and can take what they’ve learned back to their communities and share their knowledge with colleagues and family. This will allow the camp to broaden its impact throughout the region. The school/community hosting the conference will provide accommodation, sign language interpreters, and peer camp facilitators to assist with camp sessions and activities.
A local School for the Deaf will provide accommodation for PCVs, group mentors, campers, and other staff to help with program planning, camp logistics, and sign language interpretation. One of the best parts about having the camp at the local School for the Deaf is the opportunity to encourage integration between the hearing and deaf communities and to reduce the stigma around hearing-impaired individuals; we will work with the staff and resource people to ensure that the camp activities and discussions are inclusive for all students attending. Furthermore, the camp will provide mentors to students who are successful, Ghanaian young adults who are in or have recently completed senior high school and serve as leaders in their community. The role of these mentors will be to share their own experiences with their groups and provide valuable leadership and insight, especially during topics that can be challenging and uncomfortable to talk about; the mentors can also serve as long term resources for attendees as they can continue to offer advice and insight, even after the week-long camp is finished. After the camp, students, mentors, and PCVs will be returning to their respective communities with a new set of skills and increased confidence in talking about topics such as sexual health, leadership and self-esteem.