What does it mean to be Hmong? This is a question that Hmong girls from Girl Scouts ConnectZ and across the metro encountered at the Hmong Women Circle’s Hmong Odyssey Retreat held at Camp Singing Hills last month. The two-day retreat consisted of small group discussions, team-building exercises and identity activities.
Most significant was the Hmong Odyssey, a simulation of the Hmong voyage from Laos to the United States. Each girl participated as a “Hmong refugee.” In groups, they traveled through the “jungle” and across the “Mekong River” to experience the physical and emotional distress of their ancestors’ journey to freedom. After the simulation, girls described how they felt and what they learned about their culture, families and themselves.
In small groups, girls discussed the evolving role as a Hmong woman in the 21st century along with other culture-related topics. During free time, girls played Hmong Jeopardy and explored the great outdoors at Camp Singing Hills. By the end of the retreat, not only did the girls have a better understanding of their identity, they also gained confidence and new friends.
A special thanks to volunteers and staff who created a safe and engaging space for girls to feel empowered and share their voices.