“One thing I’ve learned this summer is to be fearless!” Makhya, one of the 70 campers who attended Rise N’ Shine, AFG’s free summer camp, shares while smiling from ear to ear. Rise N’ Shine tends to have this effect on the girls, aged 4-14, who attend each summer. Between the fresh summer air, countless fun activities, and new friends everywhere you turn, Rise N’ Shine is a recipe for a fun summer vacation. Indeed, the fun is what brings girls back year after year and allows them to experience workshops like gardening, chemistry, cooking, dance, and much more.
The excitement is tangible as you walk into the room for the camp’s summer finale. Held at AFG on August 13, the finale highlights what the campers have learned and accomplished during the summer and allows them to share it with their family and friends, who are invited to attend. Before the program begins, the girls introduce their parents to the new friends they have made, the Youth Leaders who have been supervising their groups all summer, and the AFG staff members who made the whole summer possible.
Once the program begins, the crowd enjoys perfectly choreographed dances, beautifully arranged songs sung by the campers and the Youth Leaders, and two plays performed by the girls from the Turning Books into Plays workshop. The plays, “Cinderella” and “You and Me and Home Sweet Home”, were books the girls adapted into plays and practiced all summer long. After weeks of preparation and practice, each girl excitedly and enthusiastically preforms her parts and then bows to a round of applause once they finish. After the performances, each participant is recognized for her accomplishments in the award ceremony. The youth leaders call up the girls they helped supervise and proudly awarded them a certificate of competition.
Before it’s time to leave, each girl receives their own 2015 Rise N’ Shine yearbook. As they race around trying to get their friends, Youth Leaders, and workshop facilitators to sign their books, they take a break to talk about what they learned and what they enjoyed most this summer. “This summer I’ve learned to be kind, not disrespectful or rude,” one girl shares. Another camper agrees and adds, “I’ve learned how to be challenged by new things.” Of course, their favorite things about Rise N’ Shine are also the things they will miss the most, “I’m going to miss my friends and my Youth Leader!” JaMiah, a returning camper, shares. One thing all of the girls agree on, they can’t wait to come back next summer and do it all over again!
Alternatives For Girls would like to thank all of the volunteers and donors who made Rise N’ Shine possible this summer!