The Gender and Youth Leadership Camp will be a 4-day immersive experience that will engage 85 primary and secondary students in activities focused around promoting leadership skills, gender equity, healthy relationships, and positive self-esteem among Thai youth. The camp will be in January of 2020. The camp will be co-facilitated by 5 Peace Corps volunteers, 10 Thai public school teachers, as well as the youth leaders who attend. Youth leaders will range in age from 10 to 15. Every youth leader at the camp will have the opportunity to plan and co-facilitate activities. The community has a number of problems affecting youth stemming from lack of opportunity and limiting self beliefs. Many young parents leave the community to work where the salaries are much higher. As a result, many children are left to be raised by their grandparents, which makes it difficult for youth to find young role models in their community. This, coupled with the fact that life skills and gender equity are not taught in the schools, means that these students have no direct access to this knowledge. The camp will provide youth leaders in attendance with the chance to engage directly with these important topics.
The sub-district administration office (SAO) has shown great interest in hosting a youth leadership camp focused on gender equity. The same organization hosted a gender and youth leadership camp in early 2018 in collaboration with a previous Peace Corps volunteer. Local teachers, students, and parents are familiar with the subject area and are excited to host a similar camp in early 2020 with an entirely new cohort of students. The SAO has agreed to provide financial support for transportation for all students involved in the camp. PCV will collaborate with 5 local public school teachers as well the local youth council to plan and facilitate the camp. The youth council is comprised of 15 youth leaders from the community who have experience facilitating life skills activities. Additionally, 4 PCVs from surrounding provinces in central Thailand will join the camp. Each additional PCV will bring 1 Thai teacher as well as a group of youth leaders. Teachers from all attending schools will select students to attend who have demonstrated leadership ability. The PCV and co-teacher had the chance to attend a Peace Corps conference in July 2019 to receive training on how to plan and facilitate a successful gender and youth leadership camp.
All attending Thai teachers and the PCVs will learn a wide range of activities during the camp that they will be able to apply back into their communities. Teachers and the PCVs will be provided with step by step materials on how to run their own camps and clubs back at their community. We will also have a section of the camp where we will discuss what went well with the camp, what they would do differently, and how they can apply those learnings back in their community. We intend to empower every student leader who attends the camp with the same knowledge and confidence to facilitate these activities in the classroom. More broadly, our goal is also that the students in attendance internalize the learnings from this camp and become leaders in their communities.