Wonder Girls summer camp blends STEM, empowerment

Wonder Girls is returning for its third year to tackle the mismatch between confidence and competence that is causing girls to underestimate their abilities.
The Crisis Center of West Texas recently opened registration for their annual summer camp and will have room for 60 girls entering fifth through eighth grade to participate in a variety of engaging activities, experiments and dialogue.
Registration closes June 15 or when the maximum number of attendees is reached.
Elizabeth Teixeira, prevention services director and camp organizer for the Crisis Center, said Wonder Girls has two primary aims.
“We bring in a group called Eighty20Edu out of El Paso and they teach STEM, (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), in a fun and interactive way to the campers,” she said. “In the afternoons, the Crisis Center provides programming on self-esteem, healthy relationships and peer pressure.”
The camp centers on making STEM accessible to those at varying levels of expertise.
“What we really want to do is help girls gain confidence,” Teixeira said. “Research shows us that by fifth grade girls have lost a lot of confidence in their science, technology, engineering and math skills but their competence is the same as the boys.”
Crisis Center Executive Director Lorie Dunnam said teaching girls to speak up and have confidence in academic settings is a transferable skill that helps them grow healthy relationships and set boundaries with others throughout adolescence and adulthood.
“It’s a great opportunity for campers to get to know other people and have a space to have conversations about issues they may be facing,” Teixeira said.
She said it can be difficult for schools to incorporate socio-emotional learning aspects into curriculum like self-awareness for girls doubting themselves but ensuring a supportive environment with guidance for girls to pursue STEM empowers them with an invaluable skill that extends beyond the classroom.