Con Mi MADRE and Project MALES Leadership Summer Camp 2017: Empowering Resilient Leaders

The Con Mi MADRE team, students, and mothers alongside Project MALES took over the University of Texas at Austin campus for the 2017 Leadership Summer Camp from July 19 to July 22. The Leadership Summer Camp was four days of learning, growing together and empowering our students and mothers to become resilient leaders.

Kicking off the camp on day one was keynote speaker, Jasmin Vara, Admission Officer at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She shared the importance of having a growth mindset as leaders. The rest of the day was filled with a series of breakout sessions that had the students focus on expressing themselves as writers and start working on a documentary project to showcase their creativity and their experiences throughout the camp. The day ended by joining with the Project MALES students in fun team building activities in the School of Social Work’s courtyard.

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Day two of the camp began with keynote speaker, Kendall Evans, the Director of Diversity at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. He presented his take on getting over the fear of failure. With a demonstration using a reverse engineered bike, he set the tone for the day, encouraging the students to embrace their failures in order to grow as strong, individual leaders. Day two’s breakout sessions continued on this note of “Failing your way to Success” as the students heard from KVUE meteorologist, Erica Lopez, Kendall Evans, and Jasmin Vara. Additionally, our own Con Mi MADRE Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Granillo along with Assistant District Attorney Denise Hernandez, and Dr. Murillo, Director for the Health and Human Services Office of Border Affairs shared their journeys with the students.

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Day three was the first day the mothers and daughters were able to experience the Leadership Camp together. The Con Mi MADRE mother/daughter teams along with the Project MALES group sat down to listen to the Executive Director of Latinos in Action, Jose Enriquez, as he shared his personal story of sacrifice, resiliency, and empowerment. Following the talk, the mothers and daughters split up for separate workshops. One of the most significant highlights of the day was the mother’s breakout session hosted by the HERdacity organization where they were challenged to remove their makeup and see themselves for who they truly are; beautiful, powerful and inspiring. The day came to an end with a 90’s themed dance party for both Con Mi MADRE and Project MALES participants.

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On the final day of the camp, the students presented their final documentaries and shared what they learned and experienced at the camp to a panel of judges and their peers. The camp wrapped up with a rap concert presenting ElleG for the students.

As the students learned to grow personally as individual leaders, they worked together and formed bonds to grow and strengthen their community. Con Mi MADRE student and sophomore at Texas State University, Elizabeth Lopez spoke to the Daily Texan and shared, “I feel a sense of family and friends here (because) our stories are all really similar.”

With a total of 31 mothers and 58 daughters, our camp was full of positive energy and profound learning. All in all, the 2017 Leadership Summer Camp was a great success and Con Mi MADRE is ready to continue empowering our student leaders throughout the year in order to sharpen the skills and tools they gained from this event.

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