Meet Vanessa, in Grade 6 and going places. Vanessa became part of the Shakespeare family years ago, when she participated in the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club. Now, she’s making her own mark in the community, as the founder of Camp Wallflower – a free, two-day camp for girls 11-13. Vanessa was kind enough to take time out her busy day to speak with me.
Laboni: Tell me a little about yourself.
Vanessa: I’m 12 years old. I was given a grant from York University to take part in a youth-led initiative program called EGCC – Engaging Girls Changing Communities. It was a contest. I thought of having a camp for girls who are socially awkward and that’s how the idea started.
Laboni: How did you hear about the opportunity?
Vanessa: My mom had Facebook at the time and she was looking on-line, on her wall and news feed and saw this contest from one of her friends. I was looking through all the rubrics and only ages 15-25 could participate. I was really disappointed when I saw that. I really wanted to do it. I wasn’t going to give up, so I asked my mom if she could e-mail the lead group, EGCC, and she did…They told us they would lower the age range because of her request…I am the youngest of all chosen.
Laboni: What was your inspiration?
Vanessa: When I go to school, I see girls who are not raising their hands and a really shy and I think that’s really sad. I thought that it would be a good idea to address this idea publicly. I thought that the camp would educate them in a fun sort of way.
Laboni: Were you shy?
Vanessa: I would say I was a little more shy before, and I became more comfortable as the years went by.
Laboni: Tell me a little more about Camp Wallflower.
Vanessa: It’s for girls ages 11-13. It’s a free two-day camp, June 8th and 9th (it’s a weekend). The camp runs from 10am to 3pm on both days, in the Grandravine Community Centre.
I will have 8 different stations, like music, arts, sports etc. and each of those stations will have a different goal. Let’s say you were participating in a sports station, then the goal is learning to work as a team.
We will have different presentations and different speakers. Councillor Maria Augimeri will be making an appearance, Girl Guides, and [a] Plan Canada “Because I am a girl” [campaign representative].
Laboni: Want do you want girls to take away from Camp Wallflower?
Vanessa: I would want them to be more social, and I want them to be aware of this whole idea, why I’m doing this…I’m pretty sure they will be exposed to different things and hopefully that will open their minds a bit more.
Laboni: Thanks Vanessa. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Vanessa: I’ve been asked a lot what a wallflower is. A wallflower is basically someone who is not very outgoing, very shy, an observer, someone who watches from the sidelines. My Grade 2 teacher explained that to us.
Camp Wallflower: A Place for Girls
Grandravine Community Recreation Centre
23 Grandravine Drive, North York
Saturday, June 8th & Sunday, June 9th, 2013
To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org