What do I wish I could tell my ten-year-old self?
"This is the question that inspired me to develop Self.I.E. camps. As I approached my last year of high school, I found myself reflecting on what I wish I had known when I was younger. I have learned valuable lessons about staying true to myself and the importance of kindness. I feel an obligation to pass these lessons on to young girls about to embark on the journey of middle school, with the hope they won’t have to experience some of the challenges I and so many others experience."
Self.I.E Camps founder Aysha Emmerson envisions a world where we are unified through all forms of acceptance. She draws on the power of words to try to spread kindness and inspire others around the world.
Towards these ends, since the age of thirteen, Aysha has volunteered at an NGO in Guatemala, supporting young mothers and children who are struggling to survive and thrive. Most recently, she traveled to India, where she co-led a conference called Youth Lead the Change, teaching high school students the mindsets and skills required to spark meaningful improvement in their communities. Closer to home, she has delved into international affairs as a member of the Vancouver Island Commonwealth Society Youth Council. She has also collaborated with Aerie, a leading women’s clothing company based in New York City, to promote body positivity and the power of being female.
In pursuing positive social change, Aysha has addressed thousands of young people. At WE Day Vancouver, she spoke to 18,000 young people about girls lifting up other girls, and transforming perceptions of mental illness; Aysha was struck by one such rare and devastating illness at the age of four, finally managing to overcome her health challenges eight years later. Aysha is honored to have been one of ten recipients of the Zonta International Young Women in Public Affairs Award (2018), and is thrilled to help further Zonta’s important mission of advancing the status of women worldwide as its first Youth Observer to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Time and time again, Self.I.E. Camps has reaffirmed Aysha’s belief in the recursive “cycle of empowerment” that forms when girls help lift each other up. She looks forward to continuing to extend the program’s reach—guided by the vision of a society where every girl is supported in their path towards self-discovery and flourishing.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Aysha grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, where she was Head Girl at St. Michaels University School. She is currently a Freshman studying Anthropology and Philosophy and Women’s Studies at Harvard College.