We’ve known for a long time at Camp Alleghany — oh, say, for 92 years to be exact — that there’s something special about our having an all-girls program. But it’s always nice to see that confirmed by others. It’s not that we need the reassurance. It’s just nice to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to get a little friendly validation from the world at large.
That’s why it was nice to see in the Huffington Post recently a little tid bit about actress Kerry Washington, star of ABC TV’s “Scandal.” According to the interview, Washington credits her all-girls school experience in New York City with making her focus more on the content of her character, her talents and aims rather than focusing on her looks and appearance to others. And as a very beautiful woman who is bound to get her fair share of admiring glances, it’s so refreshing to hear her say that it was being a bookworm, and letting herself be unique that did and does matter more to her.
As Washington put it,
I was really lucky because I went to an all-girl school and that single sex education really helped me because I really learned to bond with women and to not compete with or compare myself as much because we were all allowed to be ourselves and be unique and kind of have our unique strengths. But I always felt like my value was much more in my intellect than it was in my appearance, and so that’s what I spent time cultivating.
We feel the same way at camp. It’s not just that we de-emphasize make-up, hair-dos and the need for runway-ready summer clothes. Instead it’s what we do emphasize:
- Goal-setting and goal-meeting.
- Facing and moving beyond your personal challenges.
- No-gossip policy and its twin side, kindness and respect for others.
- An honor code and the value of traditions.
- Seeing the good in yourself and others.
We feel the best place to exercise these internal muscles is in a single-sex, female-only setting where girls can shine in and of themselves — while also freely giving their props to the other girls in the program.
I know that out there are generations of Ghany girls who had exactly the experience we’re talking about and have recognized for themselves just how valuable this experience was. We’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share in the comments below, or on our Facebook page, just what areas of growth and expansion you experienced because Camp Alleghany is a girls-only camp.
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls