Ve’ahavta-Lions Youth Camp: Week 2
We set off into Week 2 of Camp in Bartica, Guyana with the Lions Club of Bartica, 3 full-time Ve’ahavta-Peace-Corps and Scarboro Missions Education volunteers, over 100 youth aged 5-17 and a bounty of exciting ideas and activities to fill our time together.
The weekend provided our team some rest from the first week, recuperation from a nasty bedbug run-in, and opportunity for planning some fun theme days leading up towards a Camp Closing Day presentation. Our team’s collective resume included degrees in creative-writing, music education, art therapy, social work experience, and (most importantly!) local experience… we had our work cut out for us!
The volunteers and I had the chance to learn more about the volunteers and each other as we explored Monday’s “Where I Live” theme learning local games and sports, expressing ourselves through word and images over different scales of place, and sharing multicultural songs. We had a “terrible” time on Opposite day, but decidedly wonderful adventures working in teams to complete a local eco-scavenger hunt, creating murals from found objects, and guest workshops with the Hope Foundation on Children’s Rights.
Over Week 2 the youth never ceased to amaze us over a broad range of ages, competencies, confidence, and characters. The Ve’ahavta-Lions camp programs pushed the boundaries of the campers’ creative experiences in writing, singing, visual arts, leadership, and teamwork. Keifer broke out of the box with his poetry. Bobin showed leadership on the football field. Shania shared her dreams of being a doctor. Denzil and his sister, Deborah created beautiful art and spirit in the camp. Whitney, Denzelina and Joshua became the camp ambassadors for Energy and Imagination!
On Camp Closing Day all our young performers wowed with steel band performances, creative-writing readings, and a multicultural rendition of “This Land is Your Land” (Guyanese, American, and Canadian versions) with Miss Ashley. It was a proudest moment for President Rickford and me to hand over the Ve’ahavta-Lions Certificates of Camp Participation to over 100 unique campers with newfound confidence, new jerseys from Ve’ahavta and brand-new Kinder Kits to begin the school year.
Highlights of Week 2:
– Building an interactive map of Bartica
– Doing relay races, musical chairs, and limbo—backwards!
– Creating cut-outs for a positive and negative space lesson- and watching campers reuse the techniques all week.
– Playing local Guyanese games led by senior campers and local volunteers.
-Admiring the scavenger hunt treasures collected for: “Find something truly beautiful.”
– Photographing youth creating the flag of Guyana with their bodies.
– Reading aloud our all-camp poem, “Happiness.” Every camper wrote a line.
– A sea of gold: campers in gold Ve’ahavta jerseys, matching Lions Club members in gold vests, among gold-painted steel drums.
– From the Rupununi to the Corentyne…From the Arctic Circle to the Great Lake Waters. This world was made for you and me.
The campers expressed in words, pictures, and giant thank you cards to Ve’ahavta and Miss Melanie how they will miss us and never forget us.
May we never forget the needs -nor neglect the potential- of children everywhere.
Ve’ahavta International Projects Coordinator