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EmpowHer Camp is a fun and exciting one year program for youth* 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 (what we call our participants) 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! 

*For the purpose of this program, the terminology "youth", "young women", and "girls" include cis or trans girls or other feminine aligned people.


 

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

Applications for EmpowHer Camp are open!

Early Action Application Deadline - Feb. 19th at 11:59pm ET​

General Application Deadline - April 16th at 11:59pm ET

EmpowHer Camp FAQ & Requirements

 

What is the year long schedule for the Class of 2024? 
 

Class of 2024 EmpowHer Camp Schedule:

Virtual introduction meeting: July 2023

Adirondacks Trip: July 30 – August 4, 2023

Community Project Period: August 2023- July 2024

Reunion trip in Washington, DC: July 2024


What are the expectations for Young Leaders? 
 

  • Young Leaders must:

    • Be between the ages of 13 & 18 years old in July 2023.

    • 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 2024 to present their final project.

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

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

      • Raise $1000 for the reunion trip in D.C. by June 1, 2024. Mentors will help!

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

Who is welcome at EmpowHer Camp? Am I “too disabled” to participate?

 

Disability EmpowHer Network is dedicated to creating inclusive cross-disability opportunities for disabled women and girls. Any young women, including cis or trans girls or other feminine aligned people that are disabled are welcomed to EmpowHer Camp. Any and all disabilities are valid, including but not limited to: physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, visual disabilities, Deaf or hard of hearing, mental health disabilities (ex. anxiety, depression, bi-polar, etc.) chronic pain & illness, Long Covid and any other invisible disabilities. Disability EmpowHer Network understands that disability is expansive and constantly changing, so if you identify as disabled then we welcome you to apply. 

Any reasonable additional support needed during camp is handled with care, and we mean anything big and small, there are no limitations to reasonable accommodations. The only requirement is the participant needs to be at a stage where they want to be independent and learn to be more autonomous.

What is Early Action?

Early action is the opportunity for potential young leaders to apply and get a response about their application early. When applying for early action you will submit your application on or before the hard early action deadline, which is Feb. 19th, 2023 at 11:59pm ET. If you submit your completed application by this deadline you will receive an early decision on your application on March 8th before the regular deadline. 

  • Early Action Application Deadline: Feb. 19th at 11:59pm ET

  • Early Action Application Decision:  March 8th by 11:59pm ET

General Admission Deadline: April 16th at 11:59pm ET

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 youth* 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* (which we call Young Leaders) 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 Young Leader will work on a yearlong local project involving emergency preparedness or response. Young Leaders 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, Young Leaders and mentors will reunite in Washington, D.C. the next summer to explore how they have grown as leaders! 
 

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

What are the fundraising requirements for Young Leaders?
 

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

 

Young Leaders must:

  • Raise $500 by July 2023. These funds will be directly allocated to the cost of the Young Leader's participation in EmpowHer Camp.

  • Raise $1000 between August 2023 and June 1, 2024. Young Leaders will work with their mentors to raise the $1000. The funds will be allocated to the cost of the Young Leader's participation in the D.C. trip.

  • Raise funds from a minimum of three different donors each year. Young Leaders may not ask their parents/guardians to cover the full cost of either fundraising goal. Instead, Young Leaders 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 Young Leaders in their fundraising. We never want finances to prohibit anyone from participating in EmpowHer Camp!

Adirondacks

Accessible lean-to

What is the Adirondacks Camping trip like?
 

Each new class of EmpowHer Camp Young Leaders 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 Young Leaders 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. 
 

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How do Young Leaders get to the Adirondacks?

Young Leaders can travel to EmpowHer Camp with or without their parents/guardians. Some Young Leaders 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 Young Leader who needs it!

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What equipment and supplies are provided?​

 

​Disability EmpowHer Network provides each Young Leader 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!

Community Project

What is the Community Project?
 

The Community Project is a yearlong project designed and completed by the Young Leader that addresses emergency preparedness and/or response in relation to the Disability Community. Young Leaders should 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, Young Leaders will work with their mentors to create a final project goal and an action plan for the Young Leaders 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 Young Leader is responsible for completing their Community Project. They may receive help from their mentor, friends, family, and others, but the Young Leader is responsible for leading and completing the project. ​

 

Young Leaders 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 Young Leaders meet with mentors?

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

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

Young Leaders 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 Young Leader 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 Young Leaders 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.?

Young Leaders 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 or take a train to Washington, D.C. and our mentors meet them at the airport or train station. 

 

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

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