In 2012 with a few hundred dollars two middle school girls Katie Jickling hosted her first summer camp. She was determined to empower young women to forge healthy relationships early with each other so they could help build each other up and offer support to each other through out the year.
In 2013 GEMS (Girls Empowered, Motivated, Strengthened) was created as a summer program to build confidence, promote and develop leadership skills, and empower young women to become active contributing members and change-makers within their communities.
Based in Randolph, Vermont, the focus of G.E.M.S is a one-week intensive leadership camp for middle school girls Primarily from Brookfield, Braintree, and Randolph but reaching all central Vermont as well.
During the camp week, participants engage with each other, develop skills as leaders, and learn how to engage in and impact their community. They participate in activities and presentations led by community leaders and role models, connect with community service organizations, practice group problem solving, and learn discussion skills. Girls plan a hike and campout, which is a first for many of our participants! Personal reflection at the beginning and end of the intensive week offers participants a chance to reflect while revealing their growth. Camp scholarships are available so that G.E.M.S can fulfill its goal to reach girls from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
GEMS offers girls the chance to be immersed in peer support, act silly without judgment, participate in intelligent discussions about what it means to be a girl and a community member, learn leadership skills, and engage in community service.
GEMS is a 501(c)(3), led by a board of advisors made up of local women leaders.