By: Stephen Serrano, GLOW Red 2020 Liaison
Starting in 1980, the American Red Cross of Orange County gathered teens to participate in a camp that would continue to pave a legacy in youth involvement. This camp, named Leadership Development Camp (LDC), has achieved the goal of inspiring youth to be leaders in their community while carrying out the American Red Cross mission.
For years, LDC has played a pivotal role in shaping leaders and Red Cross volunteers, being held annually every summer. 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the camp since coming to our region, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our LDC staff switched gears completely. As a result of social distancing and health guidelines, our staff created GLOW Red, a virtual camp in place of LDC.
The “GLOW” in GLOW Red stands for “Growing Leaders of the World” and “red” signifies the dedication to youth volunteerism under the American Red Cross. The camp took place from July 31 - August 2 and was hosted on Zoom.
With the new changes, GLOW Red made history as the first-ever virtual camp, as well as the first camp for the collective Southern California Region, bringing together young leaders from San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial Counties.
The camp included 74 delegates who were led by the GLOW Red staff, consisting of 11 youth staffers (incoming high school juniors, seniors, and college freshmen), six adult staffers (young adult camp advisors), and the camp directors.
The weekend was filled with professional development, fun engaging activities related to team bonding and the American Red Cross, small group time for reflection, guest speakers, evening activities, an alumni panel of past LDC delegates and youth volunteers, and much more! GLOW Red allowed high school students across the region to feel empowered, excited, and encouraged to go out into their everyday lives to make a difference in their communities, especially through volunteering with the American Red Cross.
Even though GLOW Red is special in itself, the delegates that attended are now a part of the larger LDC family. The virtual camp experience at GLOW Red lived up to its in-person camp reputation of greatness while still honoring 40 years of camp history.
Despite the extensive consequences of COVID-19, the traditions and rich history of LDC will forever live on and serve as a starting point in shaping leaders out of our youth. As the first of its virtual kind, GLOW Red 2020 in itself was the perfect symbol of the capability of the youth in our communities to endure any obstacles and challenges. If there is one thing that the LDC legacy has shown time and time again, it is that delegates and staff alike will continue making leaps and bounds in the world we live in.
Although it is uncertain when LDC, as well as the rest of the world, will return to normalcy, we do know through the first-ever GLOW Red that virtual camp can still be just as powerful in enriching and inspiring leadership in our youth.