Camp Mayo-Banyo 2019 will provide roughly 105 Cameroonian youth with the opportunity to improve their futures through life skills training and health education. Over the course of three days, boys and girls ages 12 to 18 will participate in health education lessons and engage in different activities that will encourage them to think critically about gender roles, teach them to plan for their future, and challenge them to be active role models in their community. The camps will incorporate sports and team building activities to engage participants and reinforce the curriculum. Secondary school students trained as peer counselors will facilitate daily logistics, coordinate sessions, and each lead a small group of campers. Each day a different health topic will be discussed (HIV/AIDS, malaria, dental health, nutrition, reproductive health) and a different sport will be played. Additionally, there will be daily sessions led by professional Cameroonians in the health, education and business fields on gender equity and goal setting. The ultimate goals are to teach the youth about responsible health practices and to empower them to become agents of change within their communities. The communities request funds to purchase material goods including T-shirts, art supplies, and food for the camps. In support of the project, community members have organized to provide the space and labor.
From 2008 to 2015, Health and Education volunteers organized holiday camps in the community. Health personnel, teachers, and former camp participants have shared the impact the camps had on their lives and their fond memories of participating. From within the community, there has been an expressed desire to recommence the camps and establish a sustainable opportunity for youth.
Conversations with counterparts, school administrators, and local authorities made clear the interest in and excitement about holding a camp. These passionate counterparts have already begun coordinating logistics and working with volunteers to develop interactive sessions. All camp educational sessions will be led by community members, whether those be counterparts, colleagues, or peer counselors. Local authorities, counterparts, community members, and peer counselors will be heavily involved in the planning and implementation of these camps.
The school administrators will identify peer counselors for the camps. Community members, including health center staff and teachers, will help identify motivated participants. Community involvement in the design and planning of the camps will include selecting and informing guest speakers, coordinating meals, organizing the closing celebration, and developing the curriculum of the peer counselor training.