Girls Create Summer Camps: My Favorite Moments
By Brooklyn A. and Anne Myers

It was one of those summer-in-Enero Denver days. The sunshine brought out all the Wash Park folks – many in t-shirts and flip-flops – to stand happily in line at Wash Perk, my favorite coffee spot. I was eager to sit down and chat with Brooklyn, one of our Athena Project summer camp STARS! We grabbed our beverages and found a spot in the sun.  

As Board Chair for Athena Project, one of my favorite responsibilities is helping make our summer camps run smoothly. We run four week-long camps for girls and nonbinary youth who are entering sixth through tenth grades. I have the pleasure of greeting the campers and their parents on the first day, making sure the teaching artists have all supplies they need and talking to the campers about the mission of Athena Project: to uplift and nurture the creative voices of girls, women and nonbinary individuals.  

And now, here was my chance to talk to Brooklyn about what she liked best about our camps.  This past summer, she attended all four of them: Girls Write, Girls Design Fashion, Girls Stand-Up and Artfully MInded. It was a pleasure to see her confidence bloom as she participated in each one. 

Anne:  So Brooklyn, what made you decide to attend all FOUR camps in 2024?

Brooklyn:  Mom made me. No, seriously! I’ve tried lots of other camps. These camps are just super-unique. There is so much personal attention from the teaching artists. There are also guest artists and mentors for each camp so you always get different perspectives about your work. And everyone is super-supportive.

Anne:  These camps are focused on the arts. Do you need to be an artist to appreciate them?

Brooklyn:  Not at all! I personally love all the arts, but I’ve seen plenty of other campers who have never been exposed to any form of art at all. The teachers are able to meet every camper where she or they are. Everyone is encouraged to express their voices in their own unique way.  I especially like that I never felt judged by the teachers or mentors. I felt like it was totally ok to just be myself.

Anne: We added a new camp this year called “Artfully Minded”. Can you describe that one for us?

Brooklyn: This ended up being my favorite camp of all! Each day, a new guest artist was brought in to talk to us about a form of art – then we got to try it out! We tried all sorts of things – like beading and writing poems and cross stitching. There was one camper who adored cross stitching – it was way too detailed for me. But that’s a perfect example of the attitude of the teachers there. As long as you tried, there was no judging about what was good or bad.

I also liked that the teacher for Artfully Minded gave us lots of tips and advice about self-care.  It felt like a really safe space to share the stuff we all go through at this age.

Anne:  My own favorite part of every five-day camp has always been the celebration on the closing day. Can you tell our readers more about that?

Brooklyn: At the end of each camp week, there is a chance for each camper to show off their work – whether that’s a comedy set, a fashion design, a play or something else!  Parents and families are invited and it’s a great chance for them to see what their kids have learned.

I always love to see how my work lands with others. And there are always cookies and cupcakes – I love my sugar!! But in all seriousness, the celebration really makes you feel so confident and for me I felt proud when people either heard or saw what I had made! 

Anne:  Can you give us an example? What happens at the end of the Girls Write camp?

Brooklyn: Well, at the end of the week, professional actors and actresses come in to do a staged reading of the plays. That is so special! Each and every play is professionally put on. It makes me so happy to see my vision come to life.

Anne:  Finally, Brooklyn, what would you tell someone who is thinking about attending an Athena Project camp?

Brooklyn: I would tell them how much doing the camp will build your confidence, and how you learn really fun things with a community that really does care. 

Anne:  Brooklyn, thanks. It was great to talk to you today!  

Brooklyn: You as well!