A great association which I had the pleasure to work with briefly last August 2011 approached me to help them launch a camp for teenagers. This concept of the camp is created by the Association of Jeunesse en Mouvement. They are a local NGO that specializes in youth and mobilizing youth and communities. Last year they started a pilot program in which they had Burkinabé and French volunteers run a camp in a village 1 hour and 30 minutes from Ouagadougou. They invited me to watch, participate, and contribute ideas. The camp was with primary school students boys and girls between the ages of 7-12. Students had lesson in the morning from 8 am – 12 pm. While in class they learned the phonics of French, math, and science. From 12- 2 pm there would be the break for lunch and rest. 2:30 – 5 pm there would be outdoor games that promoted teamwork, and imagination. From 5- 7:30 pm there was the dinner and break. At 7:45 pm until 10 pm at night the students and the volunteers would do cultural exchanges showing dances, and singing songs from french and burkinabé culture. Since I was the only American I of course did an exchange of American folk songs and primary school games. During the evening sessions there would also be the playing of instruments, and exchange of folklore. The kids were never tired and loved participating. This was a big step for this village as typically children are sent to help out in the farms during the summer. They have to help their families cultivate as what they farm is what they live off of. For a village to allow their children the future of the country participate in enrichment and extra curriculum activities is a great example of how Africans are ready to make the change and invest.
This June the founder of Association of Jeuness Gaspard Ouédrogou asked me to help him launch the same summer camp, however targeting teenagers between 14-19. I quickly accepted. The summer camp will provide only topics and activities the community identified as a need to have. Therefore, the teens will participate in tree plantings, health awareness campaigns, and classes. With my experience with youth, Gaspard told me that he could not think of any one better to help with this initiative. My first task is to recruit girls and boys to participate. The camp is from August 2- 17 2012 In the following locations Basnéré, Dahisma, Tangassogo, and Niangado. These are all villages of Kaya (a city 1 hour 30 mins from Ouagadougou.
Thank you Gaspard for the invite.
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