The Wi’am Center opened its gates for summer camp today, the first Monday in July. Local children and youth came and were soon wearing shirts and hats reading “مخيم التسامح و العطاء و الحبة ” –the “Reconciliation, Agape, and Giving Camp”. Staff and volunteers led the children in crafts, sports, and dancing. During one craft, kids made Sponge-Bob-Square-Pants masks from colored paper. Nearby, other children molded colorful clay into many shapes, including a variety of animals, necklaces, and pretend food.
Helpful youth supervised and guided the younger children during the art activities. In the lower patio area, some of these youth led the little ones in games. Children played a game where they had to copy the hand motions of the leader at faster and faster speeds. Later, they played a game similar to “Duck, Duck, Goose” where one child walks around the circle carrying a hat while the others chant a song. When the song concluded, he or she would toss the hat to another and run away quickly before the other child catches them. Between organized activities, children of all ages enjoyed the green grass and recreational equipment in the Wi’am playground.
Finally, the older kids received a dance lesson! While the music played, kids overcame their shyness to coordinate their moves, jumping in and out, spinning around, and sometimes joining hands and going in circles. It was a wonderful time to enjoy youth and release the tension of living in challenging circumstances.
The summer holds many more fun and constructive days for these children. Tomorrow the children will visit the pool for a day of swimming. Other items on the calendar include English classes, peer mediation workshops, computer lab time, more art therapy, more sports, and more fun in general. These are the kinds of summer activities sometimes taken for granted elsewhere in the world yet this opportunity to be social, creative, and physically active in a safe space like Wi’am is a vital opportunity to release stress and have healthy childhood memories. Wi’am would like to thank the volunteers who dedicated their time, this first day of came, and all those who will join the Wi’am family this summer in order to return childhood to its rightful owners: the children.