The summer season has ended and for most this means looking back at traveling abroad stories with nostalgia.  The Romanian FLEX Alumni community is looking back the camps they organized this summer and relishing on the amazing impact the activities had on the participants!

These camps represent the work of eight FLEX alumni who were motivated to make a difference. Read about the two camps that had the whole community buzzing with energy in the summer of 2019.

EXPLORE Day Camp: August 7-11

EXPLORE Day Camp was an educational camp with the purpose of developing children’s skills in different fields and deepening their understanding of themselves. During the camp, 28 middle school students from the rural area of Neamt County explored the
topics of leadership, civic education, health, English language, arts, and sports through interactive sessions. The main focus of the Explore Day Camp was to help the participants have a week full of educational content presented in a different manner than at school, such as through experimentation and games. Each session was led by representatives from local NGOs, giving the participants the chance to ask them questions and become more aware of the opportunities that they can pursue later in life.
Explore Day Camp was not just about fun; Explore Day Camp was about offering children from vulnerable communities the knowledge and desire to continue achieving more. At the end of the camp, the three organizing alumni could truly see the difference in the group, who went from 28 children with moderate dreams to 28 children with great aspirations.

Participants observing a science experiment.

Explore Day Camp was funded through the FLEX Alumni Grants Program, and organized by alumni Stefan Popa ‘17, Theodora Stefanescu ‘18, and Dorotheea Arustei ‘17.

Girl Up! Camp: August 12-18

Girl UP! Camp Romania was a seven-day camp in Padureni, where 15 young women created a community and learned how to approach challenges they may face as women in their respective communities.

Participants taking part in a lecture and discussion about women’s rights.

The Girl Up! Camp took place for the second year in a row, returning on a larger scale to encompass not just girls from one region of Romania, but from many regions. The second edition covered a broad spectrum of subjects, with the purpose of creating a complete experience and facilitating development. Participants discussed the subjects of body shaming, the history of gender equality, gender roles, the portrayal of females in the media and in school curriculum, sexual harassment, and consent. These topics were accompanied by the self-defense sessions and personal, professional, and civic development, public speaking and media education workshops.

After implementing the camp, the five alumnae decided to expand the Girl UP! Camp multiplier effect by organizing three workshops in October for high school boys and girls from three at-risk regions in Romania. The workshops tackled topics such as sexual abuse and domestic violence.  The trainings also included self-defense classes. The main idea of the workshop is to create a safe space in vulnerable communities, while also giving a venue to discuss these topics with young men and women together.
Girl UP! Camp Romania was funded in part by a grant through the FLEX Alumni Grants Program.  The camp was organized by five Romanian alumnae, Alumni Coordinator Irina Novac ‘17, Karla Manea ‘18, Theodora Diamandescu ‘18, Andreea Pasare ‘17, and Ioana Plesea ‘17.

Now, you may wonder – why do these alumni get involved? Why these projects? According to them, if you were a FLEX student, you may know the answer. It’s because the year that they spend in the United States has such an enormous impact on them, that when they return to their communities, they feel the urge to give back.

Written by Dorotheea Arustei ’17 and  Irina Novac ’17