Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teens mentor middle-schoolers in confidence-boosting camps

Two-dozen high school students interned these past few weeks for two programs that help kids deal with tough middle school social situations.

The programs, called Athena's Path (for girls) and Hero's Pursuit (for boys), were created by Michelle Icard, a local author, educator and social leadership strategist. They've been implemented in 30 schools across five states, reaching more than 10,000 students.

Athena's Path intern Elana Burack writes adjectives suggested by campers to describe a fellow camper, which would be used for a photograph.
Because it's based in Charlotte, week-long day camps were available this summer for the programs. The Athena's Path curriculum aims to empower girls to positively and confidently act in tough social situations (read: mean girls), while the curriculum for Hero's Pursuit zeros in on boys finding their strengths, developing leadership skills and using them in a positive way.

Middle school teachers in the area taught the camps. High school students volunteered their time to try to impact the younger students who attended the camps this June.

"It's rewarding to know I'm helping give them the tools to handle these sticky situations and give them the confidence to not worry so much about what other kids think about it," said Elana Burack, a rising senior at Providence Day. "If you have confidence, you have everything."