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מרכז לקהילה האפריקאית בירושלים

JACC Summer Camp, 2017 -- A Retrospective

Malka: "This is an experience I will never forget."

Kisanet: "I had so much fun. I didn't think that I'd feel so comfortable, because in school I participate less. I had so much fun with all my friends, and I made new friends."

Rachel: "I liked that we managed to deal with the problems that came up. Even when we fought, like when the boys finished our watermelon, we found a solution and ended up eating all the Bisli, and it gave me a feeling that we can overcome anything."

Hodaya: "Everything was really fun."

So, what did we have this summer? 10 kids, about to start 6-9th grades; eight girls and two boys, Ethiopian and Eritreans.

Every Monday to Wednesday throughout July, camp ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., which added up to 13 meetings plus one half day in August to wrap things up.

Mondays, we started the day with activities run by the counselors, followed by Tigirinia and Amharic lessons, then lunch followed by a workshop or two from guests (such as juggling, acrobalance, coding, First Aid, carpentry, etc.).

Tuesdays, we went on field trips, which included horseback riding, a trip to the zoo the aquarium, a water trip at the Valley of Springs, a visit to Sha-ar Ha-Golan Kibbutz and the leadership center in Ariel.

Ariel and the horse farm were the most meaningful experience for the kids.

Dani: "The most fun was riding horsebacks and ice-skating."

Ruti: "My dream was to ride a horse and now I've done. I hope that we go there again."

​​Wednesdays, we started the day with a group meeting and summary of our week, which were followed by an English lesson with Robert who was amazing and invested much in the different activities. We concluded with visiting The Israel Museum, where we visited an exhibition and had creative workshops.

I think that the most important outcome was the feeling of importance, self-value and confidence that the month gave the children. They felt that the trips, activities, the volunteers and the money spent were for them.

Beyond that, the camp gave the children the space to discover new and interesting ways to explore their creativity, which will hopefully help them shape their futures.

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