On July 31st thirty seven very excited and bright young girls from the Northern Neck and ten equally excited chaperones boarded a charter bus and traveled to New York City. This trip was the highlight of the two week 7th Annual Girls Empowerment Camp held at Macedonia Baptist Church in Heathsville where the Rev. Kenneth Rioland, Jr. is pastor. Empowering our young girls, helping them to believe in themselves and the options that are available to them in life is the goal of the camp. Rev. Cynthia Rioland, Co-Pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church is the director of the camp. She states the mission of the Girls Empowerment Camp is designed to build positive self- images in girls ages 11 – 18 through workshops, life skills, cultural and educational experiences. Co- Pastor Rioland has likened the camp to the butterfly experience … “only we are transforming young girls into young ladies”.
The two-week free camp facilitated workshops on team building, positive self- images, healthy emotions, STEM, personal hygiene, being a winner, manners and etiquette, music and movement, internet safety, dress to impress and abstinence, just to name a few. With a personal invitation from Delegate Margaret Ransone, the girls toured the State Capitol in Richmond. They also visited Christopher Newport University in Newport News. For the third year, we partnered with the Tavern Quilt Guild who taught the girls some quilting and basic sewing skills.
The trip to NYC was awesome said all of the campers. The girls say the Broadway Play – Aladdin, which was a first for many of the participants. They gave a shout out to the world when they were seen on the TODAY Show wearing hot pink camp T-shirts and enjoying the concert with guest performer Aloe Blacc. Lunch at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, a visit to the Apollo Theatre, a tour of the city and a boat ride on the Hudson River topped off the day.
We are grateful to all of the various workshop presenters who helped with the camp. We are also thankful to our partners, corporations, organizations, and individuals who financially supported the 2014 Girls Empowerment Camp. Without their support this camp would not have been possible stated Co-Pastor Cynthia Rioland.