Bringing Communities Together
For the last 9 years, HTF covenant communities have been facilitating week-long summer camps in Jacmel and Mirebalais in conjunction with our mission partners at Wings of Hope & Fonkoze. The tradition continues this summer with the launch of our 10th camp in Jacmel and 5th camp in Mirebalais.
Children from each of these areas attend a half day of camp, receive breakfast and lunch, and engage in fun camp activities that aim at lifting the spirit and mind. In Jacmel, up to 250 children attend, many from our partner agencies. In Mirebalais, over 1,000 children are included in camps scattered around the countryside.
A special feature at the Jacmel camp is the inclusion of residents from Wings of Hope who participate in the daily activities with the rest of the camp community. This is a key sign in demonstrating to children and others of the possibilities in life for those who have disabilities. Their presences adds a big dose of joy and excitement to the day! Not only does a group from Wings of Hope come to the big field to join in camp, but a group of covenant community partners goes to Wings to lead a mini-camp for residents there.
The camps are primarily led by Haitian leadership. Maya, our in-country Director, is the main Camp Coordinator in Jacmel. He spends weeks visiting schools and extending invitations to children there, and he leads all the logistics for the camp as well as coordinating the needs of our covenant community groups. Leadership from Fonkoze bank, including the Chemin Lavi Miyo case managers, handle the arrangements for camp in Mirebalais.
In Jacmel, over 40 Haitian teachers and monitors from various HTF partners participate in camp by leading groups and helping with translation services. Our covenant community partners are truly there to accompany the camp as we model our value of Haitian leadership in HTF initiatives.
At both camps, we have contracted with the Haitian Education & Leadership Program to receive interns who assist in setting up camps, leading lessons, and helping with translation needs. We value the relationships that are built with HELPR interns as they share their hopes and dreams for Haiti and participate along with us in raising up children to experience a better life.
A day of camp looks like a typical vacation bible school in the US. Haitian monitors are paired with a US volunteer and, together, they are responsible for a group of 10 kids. We start each morning together in a large open field, dancing and singing and getting excited about the day. Then, we head inside for hand washing and breakfast for the kids, followed by a morning filled with stories, games, and lots of laughter!