This guest post is written by Azzia Walker, a Go Girls! Advocate and Parent!
I am a children’s aikido instructor at Aikido Shusekai in Berkeley. We train kids ages seven and up to be empowered, empathic, loving, disciplined warriors of peace. A special joy that we focus on is helping girls and women find their power and helping people in general transcend gender roles to find new creativity and ways of being and moving. As students deepen their practice , we work with them to set effective boundaries while maintaining their own sense of calm and center.
I first became aware of Go Girls! two years ago, as their Berkeley camp at JCC is only a few blocks from our home. My daughter was six that year, and it quickly became apparent that we were in the right place. Even at that young age, she was spirited, creative, loving, empathic, and empowered. We wanted a camp that would support and nurture these qualities, while giving her a chance to explore creative outlets, learn new skills, and make friends.
We got so much more than that. What particularly impressed me is how organized, competent, and loving the staff are. When emotional issues come up between campers, there is a process of working through it with a staff-member’s help. It includes art, talking, and resolution. That sort of work, turning conflict into grace through creativity and collaboration, is much like aikido. It is beautiful, sacred work.
The camp is full of good role models for our daughter, from the managers to the staff to the teens who assist. We would love for her to become a teen staffer, if she so chooses, down the line. Between summers we have a great time hearing our kid talk about “the media,” body image, and being strong and healthy. Looking forward to our third summer with Go Girls – this was the first and most important camp we booked!