Editor’s Note: In honor of our large contingent International counselors and staff members, and with it our growing cultural diversity, this week’s blogs are devoted to international stories.
Now that the school year is in full swing and our campers are scattered across the country (and in some cases the world), I thought I’d reach out to you about a different kind of “back to school.” Or rather, in most cases, a first time at school.
Let me explain.
Camp Alleghany’s mission is to empower young women to believe in themselves, to support the development of confidence, and foster self-sufficiency. In our country, these come with education both formal and informal.
There are, however, young women all over the world who don’t have this opportunity. There is no free education in most developing countries. Much of those populations are poor, so if there is any money for schooling, parents will use it for their sons.
I’ve been involved with Heifer International for many years. The animals, plants, and other projects Heifer provides helps families, and eventually villages, to improve their finances enough so that the daughters may also attend school.
It costs approximately $275 per year to send one child to school in these countries. Heifer helps do this through individuals’ and groups’ purchases of those animals, plants, and other projects.
Over the years I have personally sent flocks of ducks, geese, chickens, bee hives, and tree seedlings available from Heifer as Christmas gifts in the name of family and friends. I loved knowing that giving these items had the added social good of helping young girls go to school, often for the first time.
This year I had the idea to extend our local ‘Ghany We Will Give summertime charitable and service component to an off-season effort focused internationally. And now I’m reaching out to the Alleghany community to ask you to join me in participation in this worthy endeavor.
What you do is choose what you would like to send to one of the families in a developing nation, and mark it as a “gift” for Camp Alleghany. You, then, receive the charitable donation credit on your taxes, while Camp gets the honor of knowing our community is helping send a girl — or several — to school.
There is nothing mandatory about this request. It is simply that—a request to join in an international version of ‘Ghany We Will Give to help other young women around the world to have the same opportunities as young women in this country. It is also a way to help your camper to see the connection between their lives and the lives of other young women in the world today.
Campers may even decide to host a lemonade stand, have a yard sale, or get friends on board as a way to raise money for their Heifer purchase. Because purchases can be made in very small denominations — buying a “share” rather than a whole animal, for example — it makes it easy for kids to participate and see their engagement.
After the holiday season, I’ll update you on our collective success in this worthy endeavor.
Thank you in advance for your help.
In joy and peace,
Bonnie Dawson, Head of Special Events, Camp Alleghany for Girls