This video shows some of the highlights of this exciting month in Jamaica. From 50th anniversary independence celebrations, the Olympics, threats of a hurricane, 40-leg centipedes, and an eventful youth summer camp, our days were more than full.
A success story from camp involves a group of six teenage girls from two separate (and practically rival) communities. The week before camp, four of the girls felt somehow dissed by the other two and started a fight with them after leaving the community center one evening. One girl got hit in the face by a belt. Staff at the center planned a meeting for the girls but due to the rain, it was postponed until the second day of camp (in which all of the girls were participating). The first couple days of camp, I was personally ready to send the girls home for their general attitude. In typical teenage fashion, they were dragging their feet, complaining, and leaving their group without asking. At the same time, they professed that they wanted to be at camp and when we gave them the opportunity to go home, they chose to stay. But they did meet with a local conflict resolution expert and apparently four hours later, animosity between the two sides had been cleared up.
We don’t know if it was the conflict resolution guy, or the fact that we started splitting up the girls in separate small groups, or the discussions about respect and planning for your future, or just the general uplifting atmosphere of camp, but by the end of the week things had gotten a lot better. One girl even expressed in her evaluation of camp that the thing she would change to improve next year’s camp is her own attitude and relationship with others.