A Different Kind of Camp

There was a time when young women were taught manners and etiquette. Today, fewer young girls actually know these life skills, says Tené Dismuke, owner and founder of the House of Bastet-a women’s empowerment center in Detroit.

In an effort to promote personal development and self esteem building, Dismuke created “Camp Fabulous,” a performing and feminine arts day camp for young girls ages 7 to 13. This year, the fifth annual camp is scheduled for Monday, June 18 through Friday, June 29.

The camp was created to give young girls healthy life style habits and tools that will make them become progressive and successful, says Dismuke.

“We really work on being kind and considerate, learning when to do things, when not to do things, how to dress and how to treat your elders,” she says.

The girls will participate in daily discussions during their “Sister Circle” which is tailored to the problems young girls face, such as confidence. The camp provides the girls with a variety of activities such as dancing, modeling, singing and acting.


The girls will learn a variety of dance styles from instructors at the House of Bastet. This year’s camp will be the instructor LaNita Moss’ third year.

Moss, 27, says Camp Fabulous “benefits the young girls because we teach them an array of different things.”

“Last year, we had a poet come in who spoke Spanish. She taught the girls how to write their poetry in Spanish,” says Moss.

“We’ve had different painters and photographers come in. They taught them how to use the camera. They shot different things that they saw outside and made collages.”

Moss says the dance portion is most important because the girls learn freedom of expression.

“I feel it is important for young girls to control their bodies, learn about their bodies, learn about how they can move and learn how you are able to move differently to express different things,” says Moss.

At the end of the camp, there will be a performance showcasing some of the performing arts activities the girls will have learned.

This year, the camp has added a martial arts component.

“As young ladies, we really need to learn how to protect ourselves. I am working on empowerment. So, therefore, we don’t have this damsel in distress attitude, ‘I need someone outside of myself to protect me,’” says Dismuke.

“You are elegant,  strong and you are feminine; however, you can still protect yourself if need be.”

Also new to the camp this year will be Graceful Lessons Applied to Me Camp-or “G.L.A.M Camp”-for participants aged 14 to 17. The camp is a collaborative effort with Life Lessons, a workshop and seminar series tailored for teens to promote confidence development.

Sheryl Stokes, founder of Life Lessons, will run the G.L.A.M camp. She says teenage girls are “constantly being bombarded by the media” so the teenage component of the camp is important.

“The media’s image of what the world thinks is beautiful, sellable, important or buyable is not necessarily true for every young lady.  So, we want them to know and understand that they have a plan and a purpose for their lives,” says Stokes. 

The camp is a lot of fun, Dismuke says, but it is also about discipline.

“I know a lot of times they don’t want discipline but that’s one of the main things that I think we are missing in our culture. We are teaching young girls how to be self-assured. And I think that this camp will give these young girls a platform to be prosperous as well as successful and loving themselves,” says Dismuke.

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