These past few weeks have been busy ones as we close in on the last month of camp. Last week was certainly no exception as we spent a busy week at Loyola University practicing our interview skills, learning about journalism, and enjoying lunches by the lake.
Last Thursday, we were lucky to have journalist and GirlForward board member Carla volunteer her time to come speak to the girls about her career as a TV reporter and some of the ins and outs of a career in journalism. After learning about how journalists ask questions and write stories, the girls were eager to take on the challenge themselves.
The girls were each assigned a partner to interview and then write a story about. I worked with Leela and we exchanged stories about our families, our friends, and our dreams for the future. Leela told me about how she hopes to be a nurse in Nepal and give back to her home country. I enjoyed seeing Leela open up to me as she told me about what she likes about the United States, what she misses about Nepal, and what she and her best friend enjoy talking about together. We then exchanged roles and Leela was the one asking me about my hometown, my school, and my summer with GirlForward. The exercise was a great way for the girls to practice their writing skills, but more importantly, it was great seeing the girls connecting and so interested in each other’s stories.
When the girls weren’t busy focusing on their journalism careers, they were busy learning about each other’s religions, cultures, and even their views on marriage. Muna’s journal entry about her family’s customs during the month of Ramadan sparked some of the other girls’ interests in learning more about Ramadan and Islam. Muna, Sara, and Hanaan eagerly answered the questions from the other girls about their Muslim customs and traditions. As the conversation evolved, the girls shared their values on personal topics such as if they would marry someone of their own religion, what love means to them, and the importance of balancing relationships and education. I was amazed by how different each response was yet how they were all so respectful and tolerant of everyone’s opinions.
Even though we weren’t at an aquarium or a museum, this casual conversation on a warm Wednesday afternoon will probably be one of my fondest memories from camp. Seeing the girls share their values and opinions so openly made me realize that over the course of the summer, the girls truly have gone through a transformation from twenty girls going to school together to becoming friends.
– Zara Riaz, Camp GirlForward Intern
More updates from camp can be found at Facebook.com/GirlForward!