EmpowHer Camp is a fun and exciting one year program for girls with disabilities ages 13-18. EmpowHer Camp starts with one week of adventurous camping in the Adirondacks where we explore nature, make friends, and laugh around the campfire. We also connect with mentors who will help us set goals and achieve them! After our camping trip is over, you’ll go home and work on a project that interests you and you’ll talk with your mentor every month! Next summer, Young Leaders and their mentors go on a trip to Washington, D.C.! In D.C. you will reunite with your friends and mentor, present your project, and explore our nation’s capital! 


 

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The application must be filled out by the applicant and their parent/guardian. 


Be sure to read all of the FAQ and requirements below before applying!

EmpowHer Camp FAQ & Requirements

What is the year long schedule for the Class of 2023? 
 

Class of 2023 EmpowHer Camp Schedule:

Virtual introduction meeting: July 2022

Adirondacks Trip: August 14 – 19, 2022

Community Project Period: August 2022 - July 2023

Reunion trip in Washington, DC: July 2023 


What are the expectations for participants? 
 

  • Participants must:

    • Be between the ages of 13 & 18 years old.

    • Attend a week-long, overnight camping trip in the Adirondacks.  

    • Create and complete a year-long project on disability and disaster preparedness in their hometown after completing their Adirondacks week-long camping trip. 

    • Meet with their mentor virtually at least once per month between the Adirondack Camping Trip and the Washington, D.C. reunion trip. 

    • Attend a 5 day reunion trip in Washington, D.C. in July 2023 to present their final project.

    • There is no cost for the participants, but there are fundraising requirements. We help with all fundraising efforts!

    • Raise $500 for the Adirondack trip. We can help you!

    • Raise $800 for the reunion trip in D.C. by June 1, 2023. Mentors will help!

    • Abide by the rules of EmpowHer Camp, including COVID-specific safety rules and our “no phones/electronics” rules.

What is the background & intent of EmpowHer Camp?
 

The intent of EmpowHer Camp is to empower girls with disabilities to live to their fullest potential and have the confidence to lead! We do this by bringing together young women with disabilities each summer to learn new skills and connect with successful disabled women mentors. 
 

Each year, a group of 6-10 disabled young women are invited to the Adirondacks for one week to have fun and learn about survival and life skills while connecting with mentors. After the camping trip, the real work begins! Each girl will work on a yearlong local project involving emergency preparedness or response. Girls will meet with their mentors monthly to get support on their projects and anything else they want to talk about. Once their projects are complete, girls and mentors will reunite in Washington, D.C. the next summer to explore how they have grown as leaders! 
 

Girls must commit to working on their community project throughout the year and talk with their mentor monthly. Projects will be as unique as each girl in our program because projects are designed around each girl’s interests!  Mentors will help girls with the yearlong project and with anything else the girls want to talk about!

What are the fundraising requirements for participants?
 

The majority of the funds needed to run camp are raised by Disability EmpowHer Network through donations, grants, and corporate sponsorships. Participants are required to fundraise in order to demonstrate their commitment to attending EmpowHer Camp & practice their communication skills! 

 

Participants must:

  • Raise $500 by July 2022. These funds will be directly allocated to the cost of the camper’s participation in EmpowHer Camp.

  • Raise $800 between Aug. 2022 and June 1, 2023. Participants will work with their mentors to raise the $800. The funds will be allocated to the cost of the camper’s participation in the reunion trip.

  • Raise funds from a minimum of three different donors each year. Participants may not ask their parents/guardians to cover the full cost of either fundraising goal. Instead, campers must use their communication skills to raise the funds from multiple different sources such as family members, friends, local businesses.

What if I am concerned about the fundraising requirements?


Any person or family who is concerned about the fundraising requirements are encouraged to reach out to us directly. We are always happy to help participants in their fundraising. We never want finances to prohibit any girl from participating in EmpowHer Camp!

Adirondacks

What is the Adirondacks Camping trip like?
 

Each new class of EmpowHer Camp participants begin their journey by attending the week-long camping trip in the Adirondacks! We camp at an accessible wilderness park in Long Lake, New York. 
During this week participants and mentors:

 

  • Sleep in lean-tos;

  • Use accessible outhouses;

  • Learn survival skills such as building fires, plant identification, and compass reading;

  • Practice independent living skills such as cooking, meal preparation, and decision making;

  • Explore emergencies scenarios and how to prepare for and respond to them;

  • Connect with peers and mentors from across the country;

  • Build lifelong friendships around the campfire;

  • Have fun!

What is a lean-to? 

A lean-to shelter is a free-standing structure with only three walls and a single-pitched roof. Below is an image of one of the accessible lean-tos that we sleep in at camp. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

How do participants get to the Adirondacks?

 

Participants can travel to EmpowHer Camp with or without their parents/guardians. Some participants choose to have their family drive them to camp, other participants fly to Albany, NY or Burlington, VT and our mentors pick them up from the airport to drive them to camp. 

 

Disability EmpowHer Network assists with the cost of travel for any participant who needs it!
 

What equipment and supplies are provided?

Disability EmpowHer Network provides each participant with:

  • A sleeping bag

  • A sleeping pad

  • A "go-bag" for emergency preparedness

  • Headlamp

  • Flashlights

  • Mosquito candles

  • Sunscreen

  • Hand sanitizer

  • A reusable water bottle 

  • Cooking supplies

  • Food

  • And more!

Accessible lean-to

Community Project

What is the Community Project?
 

The Community Project is a yearlong project designed and completed by the participant that addresses emergency preparedness and/or response in relation to the Disability Community. Participants should to begin to think about changes they would like to see and the impact that they would like to make in their own communities before arriving in the Adirondacks. During the weeklong camping trip, participants will work with their mentors to create a final project goal and an action plan for the participant to follow and for the Mentor to assist with.

Examples of projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with a local municipality to make at least one inclusive improvement to their emergency plan, such as ensuring that deployed evacuation vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

  • Partnering with a local church to examine how the church can create an inclusive disaster plan for all parishioners.

  • Evaluating a local emergency shelter and providing feedback for access improvements.

  • Creating an educational video to help people with disabilities learn how to create their own emergency go-bags. 

  • Working with a local high school to ensure active shooter drills include plans to ensure the safety of students with disabilities. 

  • Writing and publishing a story in a magazine about an Autistic girl surviving a flood to help other members of the Autistic community with understanding how to prepare and live through a flood, as well as writing discussion questions to help promote conversation and education on the topic.

  • Taking a course to become a certified inclusion advocate, then using that information along with research to assess a homeless shelter for accessibility in the event of emergency. Reviewing a local shelter, and then making recommendations to the staff for changes to make it more accommodating and accessible. 

  • Creating and screening a video to help teach disabled high school students about fire safety in schools.


Who is responsible for completing the Community Project?

 

Each participant is responsible for completing her Community Project. She may receive help from her mentor, friends, family, and others, but the participant is responsible for leading and completing the project. ​

 

Participants should make progress on their project every month and be prepared to talk with their mentor about their progress during the monthly mentor meetings. 
 

When do participants meet with mentors?

Participants first meet all of the mentors during the Adirondacks camping trip. During that trip, each participant will be paired with a mentor who will help them for the following year. 

When the camping trip is over, participants meet with their mentors at least once per month. Meetings take place virtually through Zoom unless the participant and mentor live close enough to meet in person. 

Participants are welcome to call or message their mentor in between meetings! 

Washington, D.C. 

When is the Reunion Trip in Washington, D.C.?
 

The Reunion Trip takes place in the July following the Adirondacks camping trip. This allows the Participant to have one year to work with their mentor, complete their community project, and practice their leadership skills. 

Where do you stay in Washington, D.C.?

All mentors and participants stay together at a hotel in the heart of Washington, D.C.

What is the Reunion Trip like?

The Reunion Trip is an exciting time to get together in person with friends and mentors from EmpowHer Camp! We learn new skills, present our final projects to leaders in the Disability Community, meet with members of Congress, practice job skills, and have so much fun!

How do participants get to Washington, D.C.?

Participants can travel to the Reunion Trip with or without their parents/guardians. Some participants choose to have their family drive them to Washington, D.C. and other participants fly to Washington, D.C. and our mentors meet them at the airport. 

 

Disability EmpowHer Network assists with the cost of travel for any participant who needs it!