Summer Programs Empower Young Women

By Amelia Crowe ’23

As a legacy, Saint Mary's College was already on my mind while deciding which college to attend. Both of my sisters were already students, but they never visited campus before attending. My mother thought the Embody Theology Summer Institute would be the perfect opportunity for me to get to know Saint Mary’s, and help me with my college decision. She was right. Not only was I able to get a sneak peak of campus life, it made my transition to college much smoother.

As a teenager, having a new experience by myself was not something I was used to. I had never been to an overnight camp. However, Embody created a community that provided engaging activities for everyone and a sense of camaraderie. It was a summer program that made everyone feel heard and appreciated. I can say that the experience brought me closer to Saint Mary’s and the friends I made at Embody. 

The first day of Embody was a rush of excitement and nerves. On the first day, I met four new friends because we all wanted to take photos in front of the iconic Le Mans Hall. I ended up bonding with these same girls throughout the week. Unpacking and getting comfortable in my new dorm room later made me feel like an adult, and glancing over the schedule to make sure I was prepared, made me feel responsible. This set the tone that I was independent and already beginning to have my own unique experiences of Saint Mary’s. 

One memory in particular that has stuck with me were the meals spent at the dining hall. The dining hall was one of the locations that built on my experience at Embody and made me feel familiar with campus. Finding a table with your friends and eating a meal together was the break in the day that I looked forward to. This made us comfortable with the space and encouraged our participation in the bigger group activities. 

An activity I believe made an impact on every girl in that summer program was held in a conference room in the student center. The exercise was facilitated by a counselor who wanted us to realize how much power we possess. Life's hardships can be discouraging and lead to self-doubt for young women, but Embody was about changing that. We were told to write empowering messages we’d heard regarding women on a post-it and share them out loud. After discussing what each meant to us, we took turns writing these messages on a mirror with lipstick. We looked at ourselves—and each other—in these mirrors with words from Maya Angelou like “phenomenal women”. We became aware of our capabilities and to appreciate our own womanhood.    

The drive down The Avenue and my summer spent in South Bend is something I will always hold close to my heart. Being able to spend time with peers during a guided meditation in the labyrinth near Holy Cross can’t be compared to your average summer at home. Embody brings individuals closer to their faith and to each other. I had no idea how much this program would boost my self-esteem and would help lead me to enroll at Saint Mary’s.

I felt fearful and lost when my parents dropped me off in Regina Hall at the start of Embody. Those feelings were brief, however, because the staff and students were so welcoming and compassionate. My feelings of anxiety and intimidation subsided because the Embody program gives you the support you need to become independent and empowered.

March 17, 2023


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