UNION, KY (WAVE) - Going a week without a cell phone may seem like punishment to many teens. For a group of campers visiting the Commonwealth, however, unplugging from technology and becoming more centered helped them develop their wings.
"I can spread my wings and finally fly without any worries," said Tashilah Smith, 13, of Cincinnati, Ohio, while addressing a large crowd during a closing ceremony for Camp Wings.
"This camp will change you into the beautiful butterfly every young girl is supposed to be," said Javiair Jackson, 14, of Evansville, Indiana.
Getting to that point, however, took time and lots of hard work.
"One of my greatest memories was walking up the hill," recalled Aaliyah Bolton, 16, of Evansville. "Let me tell you, the struggle was real getting up that hill!"
"Camp Wings is more than just a summer camp," said HerSpace Inc. Camp Wings Co-Founder Brittani Chavious. "Camp Wings is a seven-day, overnight transformative experience."
Ranging in age this year from eleven to 16-years-old, 18 unique tri-state city girls set up camp in remote Union, Kentucky.
"We take these very ordinary camp activities and create extraordinary learning moments for these girls," said Chavious.
A common camp challenge of tackling the rock climbing wall quickly proved to be a life lesson for 13-year-old Adriannah Williams of Cincinnati.
"I kept focusing on those rocks and I couldn't really focus on getting to the top because I was trying to figure out which ones were turning and which ones weren't," said Williams after becoming the first camper to reach the obstacles highest point.
"It felt really good, like really good," said Williams reflecting on her struggle turned success.
Determined to give back, it was just one of many proud moments Chavious and fellow Camp Wings founder Tanisha Carothers aimed to create for all campers.
"I grew up knowing that I wanted something," said Carothers. "I knew who I wanted to be. I didn't know how to do it."
"So, every activity, every discussion, every workshop session is catered toward changing the way young girls see themselves and their future," said Chavious.
"I'm kind of feeling better about myself," said Tyi Martin, 15, of Indianapolis.
Having returned to Camp Wings for a second year, Martin said she noticed changes within herself.
"Last year I had an attitude," began Martin. "I was disrespectful, I didn't want to listen. This year, I'm kind of doing better but I'm still working on my attitude."
It's an ongoing process that does not end with the conclusion of camp. In fact, a graduation held during the camp's closing ceremony is truly just the beginning.
"That 'Aha' moment," said Carothers. "They finally get it and the light bulb goes off and the shy girl can speak and the quiet girl, she gets confidence and the girl that's used to being the loud one and the leader, she learns how to lead from the back."
"If you do change a young girl's perspective," began Chavious, "if you do place a young girl in front of the mirror and tell her that she's confident and tell her that was born with a purpose her cocoon will begin to fall off."
"Camp Wings is an experience I will never forget," said Jackson while addressing a large crowd during the camp's closing ceremony.
"When I came to Camp Wings, I was a confused little caterpillar who was just wandering around looking for people to attach to instead of people to attach to me," said Smith. "I have had a lot of challenges here at Camp Wings and I am now at the stage as a caterpillar, I can spread my wings and finally fly without any worries."
Following their third year of offering the summer camp, HerSpace Inc. hoped to expand Camp Wings to help even more young ladies find their voices and their wings.
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