For the Smiles: Summer Camps 2013 Video

This video makes me smile.

I coordinated two youth camps at our community center.  The goal of these camps was to unite youth from different communities, teach important life skills, and challenge youth to take action regarding their futures. Campers participated in the following activities:

Basic computer classes

Life Skill Lessons

Daily Devotions

Dance Lessons

Drama Lessons

Arts and Crafts

Guest Speakers

Health Talks

Talent Show

Field Day

Movies

Sports

These two weeks were both the most stressful and most fun two weeks I’ve had as a volunteer. Our summer camp was not too different than day camps that you’d find back in the states. Kids show up in the morning, go through a series of activities, have lunch, more activities, leave for the day, and then repeat.  We split up the kids into groups by age, had young adults be mentors and leaders (for much needed supervision), and was fortunate to have guest speakers and facilitators to give a little variety to the camp. Of course there were some differences between our camp here in Jamaica and ones that I have been a part of in the states like:

1. Starting an hour later each day even though you told the kids and parents that we started at 9am each day.
2. Never knowing how many youth would actually show up each day.
3. Having 1 guest speaker calling 15 minutes before their presentation for unforeseen circumstances and another not showing  up at all even though you scheduled both a month in advance.
4. Unpredictable thunderstorms, limiting our available space for activities.  If only mother nature were predictable, it would be so much convenient for us all. I know, it’s a ridiculous thought.
5. Figuring out how to feed all of the kids, volunteers, and then extra community members that know that something is going on and then expect us to feed them (which our amazing chef did and figured a way too).
6. Sticking to the schedule, but never to the exact time.
7. Never knowing if we had enough money to cover the cost of who may or may not show up for camp.

Jamaica has taught me to go with the flow, that things will happen when they happen. Not to say that this isn’t extremely frustrating at times. I don’t panic so much when things don’t go as plan – I deal with it and move forward. I have a feeling this attitude will serve me well in the future. It also helps to have other Peace Corps volunteers there to support you (Thanks Michelle, Megan, and Lyall). In then end, what really matters is why we did the camps and the answer is simple, “we did it for the smiles.”

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