As much of the US enters the coldest part of winter, children and youth in Central America are just approaching the end of their longest school vacation and preparing to go back to school. But before they do, about 100 young people in Nicaragua and El Salvador will participate in campamentos (camps) in Nicargaua and El Salvador run by SWB and partner organizations. Camps provide a special time for concentrated learning, play and fun under the glaring sun. These camps create a special atmosphere, and for January's feature of the month, we take a look inside the campamentos in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Granada, Nicaragua: Third annual T.E.A.M. Camp for Girls
For the third year in a row, we will run the SWB T.E.A.M. girls soccer camp in the city of Granada, Nicaragua. With each year, more and more girls get involved, for many of them marking their first experience with organized sports. The camp offers two sessions loaded with teambuilding activities and opportunities for the girls to get to know each other on the field and off, as well as nightly training with our Nicaraguan coaching staff. For the camp this year, we have a special staff of 10 youth leaders from the Granada area as well as an amazing team of US volunteers, from current college students and college coaches to former US National Team members in Ann Cook and John O'Brien. The camp is also a celebration for the girls who participate in the SWB program year round, and on Sunday January 10th we will have a celebration of the 2009 year complete with pictures of the year, dancing and street soccer.
Santa Ana, El Salvador: Campamento de los Angeles Descalzos
Now in its fifth year, this camp is organized by Magicians Without Borders director Tom Verner and the staff of ASAPROSAR's youth program, "Los Angeles Descalzos" (the barefoot angels). The camp provides 35 students ages 12-15 a chance to get away from their busy lives in the city of Santa Ana and allows them to get into nature for five days. While away, classes in yoga, art, theatre, magic, soccer and health are offered in a supportive atmosphere. For the past five years, SWB staff have organized the soccer component of camp and assisted with teaching the health class and arts activities. The youth in ASAPROSAR"S program look forward to the camp throughout the year and it is used as an incentive for completing homework, maintaining grades and following the programs rules.
This year, representatives from SWB Guatemala (Luis Alberto Palacios) and SWB Nicaragua (Chepe Largaespada) will join the camp staff, providing a unique opportunity for them to travel outside of their communities and countries and learn about a new culture while also educating the youth at the camp.