‘Girls Link Up Summer Camp’ Prioritizes S.T.E.A.M And Mental Health For Black Girls

3D Girls, Inc., a prominent nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young girls and women, are about to conclude their Second Annual ‘Girls Link Up Summer Camp.’ This innovative camp, catering to rising 3rd to 8th-grade girls across Atlanta, began on June 5, with the last day being June 28 at H.J. Russell West End Academy.

The Girls Link Up Summer Camp is a comprehensive 4-week program designed to support the social and emotional needs of young girls while exposing them to S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and entrepreneurship. 

The camp provides two distinct pathways for afternoon enrichment: the S.T.E.A.M. Pathway and the Entrepreneur Pathway. The S.T.E.A.M. Pathway offers hands-on, engaging activities in various STEM fields, while the Entrepreneur Pathway aims to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in girls interested in starting their own businesses.

Campers participate in academic sessions during the mornings, focusing on improving math fluency and building reading skills through a science-based contextual learning framework. Afternoons are dedicated to immersive experiences that foster creativity and future vision through project-based and service-learning activities. 

Additional program activities include:

Academic Jumpstart: Morning sessions dedicated to enhancing math fluency and reading skills using a proven science-based approach to bridge learning gaps.

S.T.E.A.M. Immersion: Afternoon sessions that encourage creativity and innovation through hands-on projects and service-learning experiences in STEM fields.

Social-Emotional Support: Personalized mentorship to build confidence and support adolescent development.

This year, the camp also introduced a 9th Grade Academy to support rising high school participants. These students focus on time management, leadership development, and service-learning.

Raioni Madison, founder of 3D Girls, Inc., shared insights into the camp’s origins and its impact. “3D Girls, Inc. has been around since 2012, offering after school and out-of-school programs for girls. The Girls Link Up Summer Camp was initially created during COVID-19 as a virtual option to keep girls engaged during the summer. When we could return to in-person activities, we established this four-week summer camp to build on the community we had created through our school-based programs,” said Madison. 

A typical day at the camp is filled with diverse activities from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Campers start their day with breakfast, followed by academic blocks in math, ELA, and science. After lunch, a guided meditation session provides a brain break, which is one of the campers’ favorite parts of the day, according to Madison. 

Afternoons are reserved for enrichment classes, which vary daily and include activities like solar energy projects with Georgia Power, candle making, and self-defense training.

One of the camp’s highlights is the pitch competition, where girls involved in the Entrepreneur Pathway present their business ideas. “We give them an opportunity to pitch and earn prizes, building confidence and leadership skills,” Madison continued, “This hands-on approach to learning and creating tangible products helps the girls see the real-world applications of their studies.”

Reflecting on the camp’s significance, Madison highlighted the importance of providing such opportunities in Atlanta. “In Atlanta, 49% of girls experience mental health challenges, especially Black girls who often feel inadequate and lack strong role models. Our camp creates a community where girls feel they belong and are supported mentally, emotionally, academically, and physically.”

As 3D Girls, Inc. continues to grow, Madison envisions expanding their reach and impact. “We doubled the number of girls we served this year and are excited about our future. We’re moving to a new space and partnering with the city of Atlanta to offer more services. Our goal is to scale meaningfully, providing more girls with the opportunities they deserve.”

The Girls Link Up Summer Camp stands out as a unique program that empowers young girls through hands-on learning, mentorship, and community support. 

As Madison aptly puts it, “Our camp is not like any other camp. We provide opportunities for girls to explore, create, design, and pitch. The outcome is truly remarkable.”

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