A group of girls take time out from an activity at a Project Inside Out camp in the Atlanta area last summer. The camp is branching out into other cities this year, including Albany. (Submitted photo)
ALBANY — After a few years of success in the Atlanta area, a summer camp started by Girl Talk is making its way into the city where Girl Talk’s roots were planted.
Project Inside Out, a summer camp meant to provide a fun, supportive, inspirational and empowering experience for young girls, will also be held in Albany at the Deerfield-Windsor School Lower Campus at 1733 Beattie Road from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 23-27.
“It was started in 2009 in Atlanta to help elementary and middle school girls have the tools to be confident and secure women and make middle school and high school easier for them,” said Debbie Lentz, Girl Talk adviser at Deerfield.
The Albany camp is also the first one to include rising fourth- through eighth-grade students, as opposed to the other camps that have, in the past, included just rising sixth- through eighth grade.
“(We did it this way) because we started Girl Talk Jr. here for fourth and fifth grade, and it was a great opportunity to get them involved,” Lentz said. “It is open to the entire community, and all surrounding counties.”
The Albany camp is accepting 75 campers and 25 counselors — a staff which will consist of high school girls.
“It gives the high school girls the opportunity to learn great leadership skills, and it is an introduction into the mission of Girl Talk,” Lentz said. “They will earn 40 community service hours.”
The cost to attend will be $195, which includes a lunch, snack and a T-shirt. Early drop off will be at 9 a.m., with the camp starting at 10 a.m. to include stories, activities, small group discussions and talent showcasing. Some of those activities, Lentz said, will include a dance in the morning, guest speakers, a community service day and a program at the end of the last day during which family members will be able to see what their daughters have gotten out of Project Inside Out.
For this camp, one community service project will be to help out someone with a lama farm who participates in the Exchange Club fair by painting lamas on tiles so that this person can distribute them as awards during the fair.
“We are looking for other projects,” Lentz said. “We will also be helping Lower Campus teachers prepare for the school year. (Showcasing talents) helps to break the ice and (give them the) confidence to be up in front of people.”
Bringing the camp to Albany is part of the effort Girl Talk is undergoing to branch out into other cities.
“Since Girl Talk was born in Albany, it was a good fit to have a Project Inside Out camp here,” Lentz said. ” … We are now hoping to have Project Inside Out in all the same cities, states and counties (as our Girl Talk chapters).”
Applications have started to come in from potential campers. Applications are available at both Deerfield campuses and at www.mygirltalk.org. Those wishing to sponsor a camper can also do so online by clicking on “Camps” under the “Girl Talk Resources” tab on the Girl Talk website, Lentz said.
“The girls just really learn a lot about themselves; it boosts self-esteem,” Lentz said. “The small groups in impact sessions open the floor to discussions, and once they do that in a small group, it encourages them to step out of their comfort zone.
“We have some girls who don’t want to be there on Monday, and by Friday (are sad to leave). There are others who are already running in circles when they get here … They are all on the same page. There is no identity; everybody is the same. We offer scholarships, but nobody will know (who has received them).”
Lentz also said volunteers are being taken from individuals and community establishments to donate food or lunches. Those interested can help by contacting Lentz at (229) 435-1301, ext. 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.