Youth Camp

My four nieces, ages 10 to 14, went away to camp this morning.  I sponsored two of them, Chiki and Shanti, although I originally only said yes to one.  I attended camps throughout my teen years and I know that this is something they can really learn from.  I hope it at least broadens their world view.  Now, about the sponsorship, what’s in it for me?  I asked the three older girls to maintain a journal of their stay and write down their learnings and maybe even feelings for the day’s activities. One entry for each, per day.  Now, I doubt they will actually do this, but let’s see.  They’ll be back on Friday.

So this camp that the girls are attending is more of a spiritual/religious one.  I was at a different kind of camp the previous weekend.  It was Asia ACTs’ Youth Camp for Children of Migrant Workers.  It’s the first of it’s kind that Asia ACTs, together with ILO and Save the Children-UK, sponsored.  The youth that attended camp had parents or significant adults who left home to work abroad.  The aim of the camp was to see how these children are faring, what their situation is, and mostly, how they’re coping.

The camp was held at Forest Camp, located in Barangay Puypuy, Bay, Laguna.

The first thing that caught my attention (aside from the trees) as soon as I set foot in Forest Club, were these flowers:


They have a lot of these in different flower combinations, I’ll try to show more later.

It was a fun three-day weekend.  I had terrible headaches every morning (was it because I had lots of sleep?), but they eventually went away and I sure wouldn’t let them rob me of that weekend.  I had to take a two-day leave from work just so I could join the camp as one of three documentors, I wouldn’t let headaches take it away from me. Besides, I was there to work, not to relax (no matter how beautiful our room was).

The weekend was a bit emotional for some of the children, but it was mostly fun for them. They got to build new friendships, learned about their inherent rights, and also gained a new perspective of their situation.  They also got to be a little adventurous with the canopy walk, two-rope bridge, log crossing, and the famous (and stinky) mud crawl!  I took pictures of the adventure of course, but I used Frankie because it was outdoors and a good opportunity to take her out.  There are some photos on my Kodak, snapped by Ate Reg, I’ll probably put those up.  I actually have lots of photos from throughout the weekend but I’m wary of posting them here because, well, just because. 

So how does it feel joining a workshop after almost four years in a different world?  It’s all the same.  Everything’s still goes the way I remember them.  Not much has changed.  Part of me wishes I could just go back and do it all over again. But there’s the part that doesn’t want the added baggage that sometimes comes along with it.  The biggest pull factor is just being with young people and seeing them blossom.  

It wasn’t too long ago when I was just like them. Discovering myself, and learning about others.  What’s most important though, is seeing them realize that they can do something to change a situation that they don’t like, be it their’s or someone else’s. The best part is when you see one or two or three of them be empowered to take control of their situation.  That’s what I miss being a part of.

Anyway, I’m not sure this post turned out the way I had thought it would, but what the heck.

Here are random photos:

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