Media Releases

UofT student’s summer camp for girls reaches fourth successful year

June 30, 2011

TORONTO, ON – Camp Stella Puella, an inspiring camp for girls ages 5-12 in Dunnville, Ontario, is entering its fourth summer of confidence boosting, volunteer work and learning how to change the world. One of the directors, Mina Kazemi, is starting her second year at University of Toronto’s Victoria College this fall. The camp will have three sessions this summer from Monday to Friday, when campers come to Mina’s house for team games, world issue activities, social issue workshops and more.

The co-founders and directors Mina, her sister Yasmin and cousin Julia Falco as well as student volunteers bring the campers to places such as the local public pool, community organic farm, farmer’s market and Salvation Army. The goals of all these activities are to give the girls leadership opportunities and an awareness of the difference between charity and change.

“We have experienced the immense benefit that these opportunities can bring to your character and development as a leader,” says Mina. “We hope that all children could have the opportunity to thrive through these experiences. We also believe that exposure to how one can make a difference for others can have a deep impact on youth and thus a very positive influence on young girls growing up.”

Another key goal of the camp is boosting the girls’ confidence through helping others, being passionate about what they’re doing and learning about how the media affects young girls’ self esteem.

“The improvement of the girls’ confidence becomes apparent as they try new activities, feel part of a team and take on leadership roles in fundraiser planning,” says Mina.

Besides running these sessions, the camp is looking into funding for more scholarships, sessions in other communities, workshops and presentations at elementary schools and an environmentally conscious play called Mindshift at the Dunnville Secondary School.

Stella Puella, Latin for “star girl,” had its first session in 2008. Mina and Yasmin grew up with a lot of camp experience of their own, especially at their parents’ Global Literacy Field School in Ek Balam, Mexico. Mina has also attended the Free the Children Academy as well as UofT’s Make the World Change course. This summer, she is involved with her local community farm and working at the Peel Summer Academy. All of this experience has led her to global health and anthropology studies at UofT.

“Running a camp has taught me a lot about work ethic and consistency and has given me confidence in the knowledge that with determination you can succeed,” she says. “The ability to understand different people and having the tools to help them seems in line with what I hope to study and what I thrive to promote at camp.”

Visit the Stella Puella Facebook page for more information.


For more information, please contact:

Mina Kazemi

Co-founder, director Camp Stella Puella
Student, University of Toronto

Jessica Lewis
Communications Assistant
Faculty of Arts & Science
University of Toronto