• July 30, 2011
en

“A Small Seed”
Youth Group Summer Camp 2011

From July 15th to 17th, the ICCC has wel­comed, for the third time, the Brooklyn Youth Group Summer Camp. Therese B., French vol­un­teer who accom­pa­nied the group through the year sum­ma­rizes their expe­ri­ence in these words:

It was only one week after coming back from the Camp, that I became aware of the impact of a pro­ject such as the Summer Camp for these youth. While vis­iting some friends in our pro­ject, I saw the youngest of the group dis­tract from her tele­vi­sion screen to sing along with me the songs learned at the Camp. Indeed, these three days are their only vaca­tion time, the only time they leave their homes and their prob­lems, to see the “extra-ordi­nary” world of the cam­paign and camping. But more than a hol­iday, it is above all, three days that trans­formed them.

An imag­i­nary was set up throughout the camp: a common theme linked the var­ious activ­i­ties together. Thus, this year, our six youth were sur­prised to land not in the foothills of the Catskills as they thought, but ... on the island of Molokai! The island, orig­i­nally located on an archipelago of Hawaii, was home for six­teen years to Saint Damien, Belgian mis­sionary who devoted his life to the leper colony of Molokai. Throughout the evenings, the games, etc. we got to share with them the beauty of a life given to others; The instal­la­tion of tents rem­i­nis­cent of Saint Damien building churches that were then default on the island, a game of mimics told of his arrival on the island and of his death. Similarly, the estab­lish­ment of rules of common life and the shifts of ser­vices echoed life on Molokai Island in the middle of the eigh­teenth cen­tury.

The best reward of this summer camp is undoubt­edly the fact of seeing our youth grow: to see them give their opinion, take ini­tia­tives, sup­port the younger ones. And not only did our youth grow, but also did the friend­ship among them. It’s over­whelming to realize that they know what is hap­pening in the lives of each other, and they now come together even out­side the formal Brooklyn Youth Group meet­ings! A very nice turnaround to which we, the Heart’s Home vol­un­teers, are but the amazed “wit­nesses.”

This Summer Camp has been an oppor­tu­nity for our youth to be chil­dren again and to pre­pare to become adults at the same time: they enjoy run­ning in the tall grass to escape the “Pirates of the island” but also they took the time to clear the table or to gather wood for the fire ... These are some of the very simple things that they were offered during these three days. Simple things that will remain in their hearts, we hope, like a seed that con­tinues to grow and grow.


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