Peace Corps Volunteers Facilitate Camps throughout the Summer
June 19, 2012
Activities benefit thousands of community members around the world
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2012 – Throughout the summer months, Peace Corps volunteers worldwide facilitate educational, empowerment and environmental summer camps for girls and youth of all ages. Many volunteers raise a portion of the funds for each camp through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), a program that helps support Peace Corps volunteer and community projects worldwide.
Today, five percent of Peace Corps volunteers work in the youth development sector, working with communities to form youth groups, clubs and sports teams. Volunteers also develop extracurricular activities that help local youth build confidence and develop decision-making, communication and leadership skills that promote positive relationships with peers, parents and adults.
The following are examples of Peace Corps volunteer-led camps taking place this summer:
Peace Corps volunteers Colin Jones of Las Vegas, Nev., Nate Storey of Phoenix, Md., Jacob Winn of Falmouth, Maine, and Richard Wiersma of Rockford, Mich., are working with local community members and Peace Corps staff to organize the seventh annual Azerbaijani Boys’ Leadership Experience (ABLE) camp from July 14 to 16. During the camp, 50 boys aged 13 to 17 will participate in sessions on topics including leadership skills, teamwork and how to make a positive impact locally. A portion of the funds for ABLE camp will be raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP).
“The primary objective of ABLE camp is to show campers how they can make a positive difference in their communities,” said Wiersma, a graduate of Liberty University who has been serving in Azerbaijan since 2011. “We guide them in a process of defining community, identifying needs and assets, and leading initiatives that benefit their communities such as park cleanup campaigns or creating educational opportunities for students. We also emphasize teamwork, motivation, and respect for others.”
One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project. Those interested in supporting camp ABLE can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate. The project number for the camp is 314-098.
Peace Corps volunteer Parisa Kharazi of Somerset, N.J., recently helped lead a three-day GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp benefiting 30 girls aged 14 to 16 in southwestern Botswana. Camp activities included team-building exercises, icebreakers and arts and crafts. In addition, participants attended discussions on HIV/AIDS prevention, gender equality and women's health.
“The 30 girls were able to break out of their shells, learn life skills, and make new friends,” said Kharazi, a graduate of Rutgers University who has been living and working in Botswana since 2010. “One participant said she was afraid of speaking in public, but this camp gave her the confidence to stand in front of a crowd and speak.”
Peace Corps volunteers Claire Donze of Saint Charles, Mo., and Cassidy Dellorto-Blackwell of Downs, Ill., are working with community members to organize the third annual eco leadership camp for nearly 50 students and teachers on an organic farm in central China. The camp is designed to teach camp participants about local environmental issues, environmental awareness, and improve English language skills. Due to the previous success of eco leadership camp, activities will run in two four-day sessions this year. The first session will run from Aug. 1 to Aug. 4 followed by a second session Aug. 5 to Aug. 9. A portion of the funds for eco leadership camp will be raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP).
“The camp provides participants with the unique opportunity to learn about local ecology, sustainable development and the promotion of green awareness from local as well as foreign experts,” said Donze, a graduate of Loyola University Chicago who has been working as an English teaching volunteer since 2011. “Not only will participants gain expert knowledge, but they will be doing so in a relevant environment.”
Those interested in supporting the eco leadership camp can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate. The project number for the camp is 366-026.
Peace Corps volunteer Jena Barjenbruch of Scribner, Neb., is collaborating with local teachers and community members to facilitate the second annual primary school summer camp for more than 100 primary school students. The week-long camp will be filled with activities including educational games, reading, crafts, cross-cultural studies and environmental awareness workshops. A portion of the funds for the camp will be raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP).
“This week of fun and motivational learning will be an excellent method for developing the assets and capabilities of the students as well as the teachers and parent volunteers while simultaneously having a positive impact on the entire community,” said Barjenbruch, a Bradley University graduate who has been living and working in Guyana since 2011. “By the end of the camp the students will realize that learning can be fun and entertaining as well as active and engaging.”
Those interested in supporting Barjenbruch’s project can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate. Barjenbruch’s project number is 504-024.
Fifteen Peace Corps volunteers in Peru are organizing a professional development camp for 60 local youth aged 13 to 17. The camp will take place from June 21 to June 24, and will include career planning discussions, professional development panels, and an educational trip to the capital city and interactive sessions on healthy lifestyle choices. A portion of the funds for the camp will be raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP).
“Often times, Peruvian youth believe that they can't really advance professionally due to a lack of resources or because it's not normal for people in their community to leave after finishing high school,” said volunteer Brian Lange of Denton, Texas, who is helping to organize the camp. “We try and show the youth that there are many opportunities open to them if they only know how to take advantage of them. The camp, if nothing else, is a way to inspire youth to think ahead and dream big.”
Those interested in supporting the professional development camp can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate. The project number for the camp is 527-109.
Eleven Peace Corps volunteers recently organized a week-long GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp for 25 women aged 12 to 19 from regions across Swaziland. Camp activities centered on topics including art, healthy lifestyle choices, volunteerism and future planning.
“Camp and GLOW seeks to enforce equality through a life skills program designed specifically for young women, integrating creative thinking techniques, health education and focus on future opportunities,” said volunteer Lauren North of Elizabethtown, Ky. “Without GLOW, many of these topics would never be addressed or emphasized at the community level.”
Peace Corps volunteers Stephen Lavenberg of Fort Washington, Pa., and Eliza Chard of Fairfield, Conn., collaborated with Ugandan organizations from across the country to help organize a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) and BUILD (Boys of Uganda In Leadership Development) camp for 100 girls and 100 boys. Camp activities were designed to promote self-reliance and address the unique challenges faced by youth in Uganda.
“I was able to send a few youth from my community to Northern Camp BUILD and GLOW,” said Chard, a graduate of University of Vermont. “I met with the campers a few days after we returned to the village and found that there was a tangible difference. They were incredibly motivated and couldn’t wait to teach their peers everything they’d learned.”
Peace Corps volunteer Alison Cumbow of Osprey, Fla., is working with Ukrainian community members to organize Action Brings Change (ABC) camp in eastern Ukraine from July 24 to Aug. 5. More than 100 participants aged 14 to 20 will take part in activities focused on leadership skills, team building and problem solving that can be applied to real situations in their communities.
“ABC camp gives participants two weeks in the summer to form relationships, to learn how to be leaders through experience and to come up with solutions to problems in their communities,” said Cumbow, a graduate of University of Kansas who has been serving as an English teaching volunteer since 2010. “The campers are inspiring, motivated youth who will most definitely be the next leaders of this country.”
About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.