Camp Reily Video Project
The YWCA believes that it is crucial to work with our children from a young age to build a strong foundation of appreciation and respect for diversity. To that end, we launched a stereotype-shattering video project with our Camp Reily kids this summer. Over the course of 9 weeks, the campers engaged in workshops and discussions about the YWCA’s mission of “eliminating racism and empowering women” and learned how to produce a video under the guidance of local professionals.
In the workshops, facilitators unpacked the concepts of "race" and "gender," and asked the kids shared their own personal experiences. Carmen Henry-Harris had them interact with different kinds of hair as part of learning about race, instilling the mantra that we’re “different but not deficient!” Tara Leo Auchey led a workshop on gender that ignited spirited debate about what toys or clothes are for boys or girls; by the end of the session most of the kids agreed that “it doesn’t matter!” With that foundation set, Diana Robinson taught the kids about the video production process, working with them to develop story-boards and giving them roles of directing, set design and assistance with video and audio.
The final product is a 7-minute short film entitled I Am More than a Stereotype, which was unveiled at a "red carpet" premiere hosted by Midtown Cinema this fall. The raw emotions and experiences of the kids come through the screen in a way that is both powerful and poignant. Although heartrenching at times, it is ultimately a hopeful message to see beyond the stereotypes and recognize people for who they are.
This video is a great resource to stimulate conversations about race and racism, gender and sexism and how we can work to eliminate stereotypes. Classrooms, school assemblies, after-school programs and youth groups are all great places to use it with kids. It's also a great tool for adults in college classrooms, teacher/staff in-service days, faith communities and more. The video is free to use, and if you would like the YWCA to come and facilitate a discussion in conjunction with it, please contact Amanda Arbour, Racial Justice Program Coordinator, at AArbour@ywcahbg.org or 717-234-7931 x3057.