Girls wilderness camp ignites the light within, develops leaders

Keeley Tree blows on a blow nest to start a campfire, Bureau of Land Management land west of Gunlock, Utah, undated | Photo provided by Therapy Associates, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Ignite Leadership Girls Camp will present a unique wilderness experience for girls, 10-21, with the theme “Make your own fire.” Kena Frey, co-owner of Therapy Associates, is the flame behind the campfire.

“Learning survival skills challenges us to grow, strengthen ourselves and persevere through the difficult times,” Frey said. “That is where we get a sense of who we are and our capabilities.”

Keeley Tree blows on a blow nest to start a campfire, BLM land west of Gunlock, March 2014 | Photo provided by Therapy Associates, St. George News
Keeley Tree blows on a blow nest to start a campfire, BLM land west of Gunlock, March 2014 | Photo courtesy of Therapy Associates, St. George News

Ignite is designed to take girls and young women out of their comfort zones and help them discover who they are outside of the daily droning of society’s messages, Frey said. Society tells us it is about what clothes we wear or what makeup we have.

In the wilderness, everyone is on the same level. Each girl will learn how to start a bow-drill or friction fire. They will cook their food over the fire and build their own shelter using supplies provided. They will go on hikes using a compass and a map to reach their destinations. Each girl will be encouraged to lead part of the hike.

Frey, who is a licensed clinical social worker, created Ignite in part because of her own experiences as a staff member at a wilderness camp for troubled teens.

“As a 20-year-old woman I learned more about myself during the first two months I worked there than I helped anybody else,” Frey said. “What I learned about myself in those first couple months changed who I was and what I’ve become today.”

Keeley Tree demonstrates using a pocket knife to start a bow-drill fire, Bureau of Land Management land west of Gunlock, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of Therapy Associates, St. George News
Keeley Tree demonstrates using a pocket knife to start a bow-drill fire, Bureau of Land Management land west of Gunlock, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of Therapy Associates, St. George News

Frey didn’t know what she was capable of before she stepped into the wilderness, she said, and that is what she wants to instill in young women today.

Though Ignite is designed after a camp for troubled teens, this leadership camp is open to all girls. It’s designed to inspire them to explore their own unique strengths and skills.

Being a teenager is tough, Frey said. Her goal, she said, is to take a proactive approach to preventing problems teens might face by helping them discover and develop their strengths before they walk into those tumultuous teenage years and before they are catapulted into higher education, careers and parenting.

The girls will hear from a variety of women who have been successful, including Chef Jessi, who has studied the culinary field in Italy, New York City and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The girls will also be working with their hands.

“There’s a nut called a fungus nut that grows on a tree branch. It’s not much to look at on the outside, but when you start to sand it down and work past the rough edges, there are beautiful designs inside,” Frey said.  Sometimes that’s how it is with us, she said.  Sometimes we have to work to find the beauty.

Keeley Tree demonstrates how to start a bow drill fire, Bureau of Land Management land west of Gunlock, Utah, March 2014 | Photo courtesy of Therapy Associates, St. George News
Keeley Tree demonstrates how to start a bow drill fire, Bureau of Land Management land west of Gunlock, Utah, March 2014 | Photo courtesy of Therapy Associates, St. George News

There are several camp dates available and the girls are divided into age groups. The first expedition is designed for girls, 10-13 years old. The next group is for 14- to 17-year-olds, and the third group is for young women, 18-21. Each class is designed for the individual age groups and is limited to six participants.

Frey’s staff has had extensive wilderness training, she said, and will provide a safe and secure environment for the girls to grow and learn.

Ignite is designed to help each participant learn how to shine her light in her unique way. The message that Frey wants to get across to these young ladies is found in a quote by author and motivational speaker Marianne Williamson, who said: “We are all meant to shine …. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.”

The added benefit of learning basic survival skills, taught by certified wilderness counselors, also gives the girls confidence in knowing they can take care of their basic needs in the event of an emergency.

Parents who would like more information on how to encourage their daughters to “make their own fire” at Ignite Leadership Girls Camp can visit the Therapy Associates website linked here.

A D V E R T O R I A L

Resources

  • Therapy Associates | Address 166 N. 300 W., Suite 1, St. George | Telephone 435-862-8273 | Website

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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