Celebrate GRL PWR

Editor's Note: The following post is about For the Girls middle-school camp, but there a few other summer camps with space left!

When President Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color should return to the counties “from which they came,” I thought of Angela de Hoyos’ poem Hermano, which I share in our middle-school camp, For the Girls.

The camp welcomes everyone who identifies as a girl or young woman in grades six through eight. It expands this year to two weeks (afternoons, Monday through Friday, Aug. 5-9 and Aug. 12-16). Campers said they wanted more time—more time to develop friendships with other young women writers and to create a supportive community, more time to dig into the issues and challenges facing girls today, more time for GRL PWR, and, of course, more time to write, write, write!

The camp celebrates female perseverance, excellence and achievement, such as the U.S. women’s soccer team snagging an unprecedented fourth world title. We also look at challenges facing girls and women around the world. A gender discrimination lawsuit filed by those same soccer players calls out unequal pay and working conditions.

Girls often are interested to learn that pay inequality typically begins at home and early in life, according to a 2018 analysis by a University of Maryland sociologist. Girls spend more time doing chores than their brothers yet earn less allowance, the study found. The gap, however, seems to be shrinking.

For the Girls explores a variety of stereotypes, many perpetuated unconsciously. For example, girls as young as 6 and 7 believe brilliance is a male trait, according to a 2017 study involving three US universities and 400 children.

For the Girls also examines how girls are pitted against each other and targeted by advertisers touting impossible and stereotypical beauty standards. (This year Britain banned gender stereotypes in advertising.)

At For the Girls, we upend these stereotypes, rewriting traditional fairy tales, video games, and school dress codes. A selection of diverse women writers, including Angela de Hoyos, inform and inspire our work.

de Hoyos, one of the first Mexican-born women to publish poetry in the US, moved to San Antonio as a child. When her hometown newspaper published a letter in the 1970s calling for “Mes’kins” to return to Mexico, de Hoyos felt angry and frustrated. From those feelings, she created art.


... (The land belongs) to a pilgrim

arrived here only yesterday

whose racist tongue says to me: I hate

Meskins. You’re a Meskin. Why don’t you

go back to where you came from?

Yes, amigo…! Why don’t I? Why don’t I

resurrect the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa Maria


and you can scare up your little ‘Flor de Mayo’

so we can all sail back

to where we came from: the motherland womb....


For the Girls honors our common experiences as girls and women and the strength in our differences. We tap into our anger, sadness and joy, our serious and silly sides, our fierce and wild imaginations. The camp offers a safe place for girls to explore who they are as young women writers—and who they want to be.

You can learn more about For the Girls and sign up here. Financial aid is available. Look for the button on the class sign up page.


Kellye Crocker, MFA, is a member of Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Young Writers Program faculty. This summer will be the fourth time she’s taught For the Girls, which started as an after-school program. She writes novels for teens and tweens and nonfiction for adults. Her work has appeared in several national magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parents, and Glamour.