Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / iGLOW Camp / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Photography / Teaching

Indonesian Girls Leading Our World – iGLOW Camp 2013

My decreased blogging has not been in vain. Over the past three months, five other volunteers near my area and I have been working incredibly hard to organize a leadership camp for 10th and 11th grade girls held at my school, MAN Bondowoso, from Thursday, March 28th to Sunday, March 31st.

Since November of last year, Katie, Nicole, Allison, Sophie and I have been working with 11 schools to invite 85 participants and 19 Indonesian teachers as counselors. In addition, we had 7 speakers giving sessions on Nutrition, Reproductive Health, Healthy Relationships and Self-Esteem, Human Trafficking and others forming a Career Panel. In between, some excellent Indonesian teachers facilitated other activities and sessions on Outer Beauty, Inner Beauty, Teambuilding and Leadership, Stereotypes, Gender Roles, Women’s Image in the Media and Establishing Goals.

Coordinating this gargantuan project could not have been done without my school, which has been incredibly supportive of this project since the moment I brought it up to them. This makes me feel so loved! It’s often difficult to convince people of the value of this type of camp and since it’s a brand new idea in this area, the support of my school’s headmaster, Pak Imam, was invaluable in getting the support of other schools. This project could also not have been accomplished without the support of my counterparts, Pak Warai and Pak Gita, and the amazing female teachers, Bu Mut, Bu Endang and Bu Yus, who went above and beyond in doing countless camp organization. Their event planning skills (and those of Indonesians in general) never seize to amaze me. Aside from the people in my school, Bu Nuri shone as the camp’s MC and Mbak Anik was one of the best facilitators, which made both of them the most popular counselors among our participants.

Because the camp was held in Bahasa Indonesia, our role as volunteers was strictly organizational. It was up to us to build the camp from scratch, which meant working together to set a budget, line up speakers, plan sessions and create materials, all of which resulted in an 80 page handbook created in English and Bahasa Indonesia. (Shout out to all the people that helped with translation!) Though the male volunteers had limits to their participation in a girls only camp, Blake, Jay, Josh, Delaney, Matt and Ryan, also played an important part in getting their schools involved, fundraising and organizing their counterparts and participants.

In the end, the camp was an incredible success and epic culmination of months of the most rewarding work. Though sadly our role and limited Bahasa Indonesia didn’t allow for us to share in the participants experience as much as the counselors, from what we heard and saw, the girls were having a great time and more importantly, learning a lot. To our astonishment, everything went smoothly and exactly as planned. (I’m still marveling at that miracle.) And now I’m closing my first year of Peace Corps Service in Indonesia, floating on an iGLOW high upon completing this project, which we are already working on repeating again soon.

The iGLOW 2013 chant invented by Katie and now, totally famous.

And it begins – iGLOW Schedule Day 1

Icebreaker Bead Activity – the girls got to know each other by asking questions and exchanging beads to make a bracelet.

Bu Endang (front) and Bu Tiara leading their small group sessions on the value of journaling.

The iGLOW Points Meter – empty suns waiting for some shiny rays.

Girls working on their bridge activity – one island indicates “Where We Are Now,” the sea represents the challenges they face between reaching the island of “Where They Want to Be.” They built a bridge from skills/information gained at the camp. I love that this group’s sea has a huge threatening piranha in it.

Burning physical insecurities in the outer beauty session.

Bu Deni explaining gender roles.

Discussing Nutrition.

Bu Ais explaining the value auction in the Inner Beauty session.

Bidding on Values.


Warrior Pose

Sophie and Katie leading partner yoga.

Partner Tree Pose

From the very beginning all these girls kept groaning “Sakit!” or “Painful!” This was definitely new to most of them.

Making popcorn for our camp’s movie night. That was a disaster of oil, messy pots and insufficient burned popcorn. (Allison, good spirit for not giving up! I would have.)

Burned or not…we ate the popcorn anyways.

Reproductive Health Session, Part 1 with Inna from Samsara Organization. Bu Binti is also pictured.

Healthy Relationships Session – all the volunteers got emotional watching the Girl Effect video.

A must see:

Mbak Anik leading the Teambuilding sessions.

Getting organized before the rain comes.

The rain came, but the activities carried on.

Our iGLOW office, which was also the sleeping quarter for all the volunteers and Mbak Anik.

And by “sleeping quarters,” I mean a felt carpet over a linoleum floor. After day one, a Spanish phrase kept running through my head: “Para un buen hambre, no hay pan malo.” The same can be applied to this sleeping situation: If you’re tired enough, there’s no bad sleeping place.

Reproductive Health Session 2 – talking about preventing pregnancy.

Feeling the GLOW at the late night candle lighting ceremony on the last night.

Our career panel of strong independent women: Rona Susan (Nutritionist and Entrepreneur) , Sari (Peace Corps Regional Manager), Dr. Sainiyah (Nicole’s school principal), Dr. Astiti (doctor in Bondowoso).

Bu Lilik, an entrepreneur from Probolinggo, telling her inspiring story of getting married after middle school, going to university as an older adult once her kids were grown up, starting her own oleh-oleh business and teaching literacy.

Closing up the bridge activity

Allison completing our communal bridge.

The blue group’s bridge that was really creative!

One of the bridge panels on this drawing says “Say No to Love before Success!” Lol.

Establishing Goals Session

The cat that followed me home from the office (of um, ice cream sales) and became the GLOW cat. This cat is still lingering in my school and following me around, by the way.

The shiny suns of the GLOW METER after 4 days of camp. The Red Team won!

The closing ceremony with Pak Warai, our MC Bu Nuri and my vice principle, Bu Mut.

Pak Warai watching the slideshow Nicole made.

Bu Binti giving certificates to her group.

My MAN Bondowoso kids and our invaluable standby student, Adhitya.

Camp Group Pic – (Not everyone is pictured!)

The iGLOW Committee
Katie, Sophie, Nicole and Allison: The biggest thank you for being amazing and talented women that I admire a great deal. You all were a dream to work with. One of the best things I got out of this was becoming friends with all of you. (Thailand AfterGLOW party, here we come!)

9 thoughts on “Indonesian Girls Leading Our World – iGLOW Camp 2013

  1. U are absolutely awesome Melanie! You and all the people who organized this. It looks like it was tons of fun for everyone involved. 😀

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