A camp that teaches girls how to be the best that they can be was held for the 12th time in Thomson June 30.

Cher’s Sisters Only Club, an organization of professional women, brings the club to Thomson for girls aged 11 to 10 give them tools they need to succeed.

The daylong, eight-hour,  Camp Be Your Best, instructed the girls in personal hygiene, money management, healthy relationship-socially and mentally and other topics. The girls also participated in chats, games and other hands-on interactions.

Marylyn Norris, a Cher’s Sisters Only Club member, said the Campis about empowerment.

“This camp is geared for girls who would not otherwise go to a summer camp because the family cannot afford it. We host the camp in Thomson because Thomson and Warrenton  are underserved communities,” she said.

Norris said the camp lets the girls know that they can be who they want to be. “We want to show them positive women in their communities, who are of the same color, so they can see that whatever their desire is they can be that. There is no limitation,” she said.

The purpose of the camp starting with 11 year old is to plant a seed. “If you start early then you can focus outward and put your mind toward whatever you want to be,” Norris said.

Norris said she participates in the annual camp in Thomson, Aiken and Augusta as a way to give back. “My passion is to make girls realize that there is no limitation.  It does not matter where your come from, what community is or what you home is like, what matters is what you want to be,” she said.

When camp season is over, the Cher’s Sisters Only Club hopes that the girls will be affirmed and do know about being and doing their best. “All we want for them is to get something. Being your best is not excelling at everything but giving it your best. We are letting the girls know that if a C is the grade you got while giving it your best, then that is fine,” Norris said.  “We them to give it their best, their all. “

Steviana McCoy, 17, of Warrenton, returned to the camp this year as a mentor.  She will attend Spellman College in the fall.

“I came back because I love Camp Be Your Best. It is very empowering and I loved being around a bunch of people like me and learning about myself,” she said. “I came back because I wanted to talk to the girls about having self-esteem and believing that they can do whatever they set their minds to do. “If you do not believe in yourself, who will,” she said.   “

McCoy said returning was a way to give back and teach what she was taught as a camper.  “I took my learnings into my senior year in high school and I accomplished a lot,” she said.  “I want the campers to listen and apply what they receive to their daily lives.”

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