The Soccer Camp this past August was an even greater success than previous years. During the three week camp the children and youth from five communities played more than just soccer, they also enjoyed a variety of other activities and learned some new things.
The first week the soccer camp was held only for orphans. On the first day 35 orphans came together and by the end of the week 69 attended. Everyday they played soccer with volunteer coaches and also played other games. The program also included a different speaker each day. This year the guest speakers were a high school principal, a law student, an agriculturalist, a high school teacher, an elementary school teacher, a church leader, and a piano player. The orphans were also taught different subjects such as the importance of hand-washing.
The orphans were divided into groups according to age and provided some counseling a few times during the week. They were asked to introduce themselves, then share their feelings about becoming an orphan and how it has changed their lives. Some of them shared their experiences, their sadness and their resilience, and some tears were shed but it brought the orphans and leaders closer together. Sadly, it is difficult for some of them to accept being an orphan and live with people they do not know well but they realize they can not change this and are resigned to their situation. Most of the orphans left these group sessions feeling stronger and more supported.
The second week of the camp was for youth aged sixteen to twenty-four. During the afternoon the youth had soccer training followed by a tournament for a champion team. It was an excellent week for the participants to get to know each other and be challenged with the theme “Youth and their responsibilities”. The sub-topics were: the importance of a good education and of living in a clean environment, how and when to choose to have a family, defeating poverty, and the future of youth. There were several speakers who shared on the camp theme during the morning program.
The youth had the opportunity to show their talents not only for playing soccer but also for singing, dancing and creating skits. All learned how to make liquid soap and a detergent for cleaning. Thankfully the donations we receive enabled us to provide a healthy meal everyday again this year (rice and bean with chicken or sandwiches or spaghetti with homemade fresh juice). Each youth was gifted a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and mouthwash. The camp started with 113 youth and grew to 124 by the end of the week.
The third week of the camp was for children from three to fifteen years old. It was amazing to see so many wanting to participate! Unfortunately, we were only able to welcome 120 kids. Most of the children were orphans. The rest of them were vulnerable in that they had one or both of their parents but their parents struggle to provide for and look after them as well as themselves. The children were divided into different age groups with boys and girls together. In addition to soccer, they learned how to make a greeting card. A lot of volunteers came to help with this week of the soccer camp.