Danielle Wadsworth, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology, launched the Empowering Girls through Leadership and Exercise (EGLE) camp this summer for third through sixth grade girls. Eleven young ladies from the Auburn-Opelika area attended the camp June 19-22 at the School of Kinesiology in Wadsworth’s Exercise Adherence and Motivation Lab.
The campers kept notebook journals of their thoughts and experiences throughout the week. They also painted rocks with an inspirational word on it, such as “helpful” or “creative.” One girl wrote “you rock,” which was Wadsworth’s favorite. These “affirmation rocks” serve as a reminder of their unique character strengths.
“I liked painting the rocks,” said Chloe Cripe, one of the campers. “That was my favorite activity.”
The students also made obstacle courses with cones, blocks, and balls that incorporated an exercise like balancing or push-ups. They had to lead others blindfolded through the course using words to describe what to do. This helped build communication skills, leadership, and teamwork. On the last day of the camp, the girls took their parents through the obstacle course they created.
Several activities involved teamwork. For example, they passed a physio ball to each other along the wall lying down using only their feet, and passed a Funnoodle down the line to each other lying on their backs using only their feet.
“I learned about friendship,” said Kennedi Brock. “We watched a funny video about good teamwork and not-so-good teamwork.”
The camp also incorporated some fun tag games. One was cooperative tag, or the blob, where people connect arms and must stay together to tag people. If tagged, you connect and become part of the blob.
“My favorite was cops and robbers,” said one of the campers, Searra Boyd. “If you’re tagged by the cops you go to jail and do 10 jumps or 5 push-ups to get out.”
Wadsworth did yoga and Zumba with the campers and talked about muscles and the importance of exercise. They also discussed the seven habits of healthy kids (based on Steven R. Covey’s well-known book): 1) be proactive, 2) begin with the end in mind, 3) put first things first, 4) think win-win, 5) seek first to understand, then to be understood, 6) synergize, and 7) sharpen the saw. Wadsworth talked with them about what you say to yourself and others, and whether you are a “Negative Nan” or a “Positive Pam.”
“We try to inspire an ‘I can!’ attitude in the girls and understand the power of positive thinking,” said Wadsworth. “We talked about the circle of control and to not get upset about things you cannot control.”
Goal setting was another focus during the week. As a group they discussed how to set short-term and long-term goals by making them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART). They set individual goals for themselves in their journals as something to aspire to.
The campers got to take home their journals, affirmation rocks, and a renewed sense of confidence and health. It was a great week for all concerned. Congratulations Dr. Wadsworth!