A full week of summer camp is coming to a close at Wi’am this Friday. Attendance has grown each day as children invite their friends. Throughout the week, the center strived to provide the campers with fruit and other snacks to keep their bodies healthy and running during the long summer days.
Tuesday, everyone fled the hot dry summer for a rare swim. The annual field trip to the pool in Beit Sahour is a much anticipated, and fondly remembered, activity for the Bethlehem kids. Of course, every day has been a day for playing sports in the Wi’am yard. The kids laugh and play soccer just meters from the annexation wall, just as children do on streets and in muddy fields around the world. Three-legged races, relays, and rope-tugs, also, featured prominently this week.
Everyone is impressed to see that the youth’s dance moves are improving! The older and younger children each have their own song and motions. Though at first their routine was mostly laughter and play, by the end of the week they were really moving together in concert. When fun and practice join together, art emerges. The younger children have continued with their crafts. Today, for example, they made pictures and mosaics by pushing pins through sequins into foam boards. Before long, there was a garden of sparkling flowers and animals on the patio. Later, friends of Wi’am from the community helped pain designs on the faces of the children, from butterflies and flowers to Spiderman masks. There were also plenty of long, colorful balloons to twist into balloon animals.
Meanwhile, Wi’am volunteers from abroad helped lead some English language games. During one game, a volunteer brought out a bag of objects and named them in English. Then, he called out the name of each object in English and the kids rushed to seize that object. Today was also movie-day. Little ones gathered in the darkened conference room to watch cartoons. Yesterday, the conference room was host to a peer mediation workshop that utilized drawings to harness creative energy. Summer camp is always fun but, when possible, the Wi’am staff strive to pass on the values of problem solving and non-violent transformation to the children.
Overall, the Wi’am Summer Camp experience has given everyone plenty of reasons to be smiling. These activities are part of a rich childhood. Being around the carefree smiles and hearty laughter of the children has also enriched the lives of the adults. We hope camps are taking place on this green lawn for years to come.