Camp Little House takes up an entire small block just a quarter mile from my childhood home in suburban Miami, FL. For 10 years I attended camp, walking there alone in the mornings, going by a name of my choosing, where I believed and was reassured I could do or be anything. At Little House, Girl Scouts ages 5 to eighteen reciprocate affection and attention, to each other and to activities. Playing, crafting, walking on the trails, sweating, snacking, helping, tie dying, swimming, existing. In 2018, this innocent display of Girlhood is not so distant from what Womanhood is capable of encompassing.
I was lucky to be raised in Miami as a daughter of latin immigrant parents. In public school I was constantly confronted with friends of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We kiss our friends on the cheeks, as we would our family. I was so comfortable. Camp was an extension of that family. We were girls of all ages from different upbringings, now sharing the same lawless ground.
My own transition into womanhood occurred while learning to navigate a new city and life, when I moved away for college. My safety net was ripped from underneath me, my sense of self suffered immensely, and through my liberal arts education I questioned so often the relationship this struggle had to my existence as a woman, and if my male counterparts experienced a similar paradigm shift.
These thoughts have led me here. In revisiting camp 8 years since I was a camper myself, I reconciled my sporadic yet vivid memories with the dreamy reality of what Womanhood is for sixty girls during six summer weeks since 1994.
When we grow past adolescence, we are forced to comply with the fight to embrace our livelihood, and our right to exist begins to fade. Camp Little House holds on to that right, as a safe space to love and be loved, in the hopes that as we grow we will always apply the 3 c’s of Girl Scouts–courage, confidence and character–to the way we feel about ourselves.