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Western Kentucky University

About Gender & Women's Studies WKLT Summer Camp

About Women & Kids Learning Together Summer Camp


A picture of kids coloring on sidewalk with chalk

Need

Warren County and neighboring counties are in need of projects and efforts that serve low-income women and their children. Women & Kids Learning Together Summer Camp is the only such project in Kentucky. Overall, Kentucky ranks as the 3rd worst state for women, according to a 2004 report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The 2002 Governor’s Task Force on the Economic Status of Kentucky’s Women also found that Kentucky ranks 47th in measures of women’s economic and social autonomy, ranks 49th in the percentage of women with four or more years of college, and ranks 50th in health and well-being of its women. It is evident from these numbers that women in this area need assistance and encouragement.

WKLT focuses on education, the arts, and physical and emotional wellness, in order to help improve the lives of low-income and under-educated women in the area. Through classes, workshops, and teambuilding activities, these women will be better prepared for long-term education and employment. They will participate in activities that allow them to explore self-expression and engage in new experiences.

The kids, too portion of the program will encourage the participants’ children to be creative and to express themselves in positive and healthy ways. The children will participate in art, drama, dance, and creative writing activities led by Western students. This aspect of the program supports WKU’s efforts to encourage active student learning and community engagement.

WKLT is free for participants.  

Camp Activities

The 2011 WKLT Summer Camp runs the week of June 6-10, 2011. Participants’ days will begin at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast. During the day, the women will attend workshops that encourage self-esteem, self-expression and empowerment, and team- and trust-building. These classes will be led by WKU faculty and guest speakers.

In the afternoons, lunch will be provided to the participants. Nearly all activities will be on WKU’s campus, so the women will have “the university experience,” encouraging them to pursue long-range educational goals. There will be a fieldtrip day, where the women will participate in teambuilding, communication activities, and trust-building exercises. Meanwhile, the children will have their own field trip to the Nashville Science Museum to provide hands-on fun and learning.

In order to encourage the idea of life-long learning and to provide an example of applied positive change, the camp requires participants to read a short book and then discuss how the book relates to their lives. Bowling Green’s mayor, Elaine Walker, will lead a discussion about civic engagement and the need for low-income and minority women to participate in local government.

Many of the activities involve the arts. For instance, one of our workshop leaders is an award winning poet (Mary Ellen Miller) who will guide the women in a poetry workshop. Journaling and written expression will be encouraged throughout the week. A drama workshop for the children will help engage the children in an activity that they can share at the Graduate Ceremony. Finally, the women and children will go to WKU's new Science and Technology Hall for an opportunity to work on projects relating to science—a “magic show” led by one of our women chemists, and a goggle tie-dying activity. This gives the women and children the excitement of learning together.

On the last day the participants attend a graduation dinner where they will be presented with a certificate of achievement and where their children will present the artistic work they created throughout the week. At graduation, we give each participant a book that contains their writing and artwork, and memorable photographs taken during the week.  

Catherine Coogan Ward Scholarhip

All participants are eligible to receive a scholarship to attend WKU thanks to the generosity of Catherine Coogan Ward, Gail Martin, and other donors. Participants should contact the director. If you are interested in working with us for the 2011 Women & Kids Learning Together Summer Camp, please contact Leigh Gaskin or Samantha Burnett through the staff link or by calling them at 270/745.6995.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14