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Summer camp 2003

Thursday 31 July 2003

July 6 – 31: Some 140 young people aged 5 to 13 took part in the highly successful NSWAS annual binational summer camp.

Organising the summer camp was by no means simple this year: building and renovation projects taking place around the school made it necessary to locate the main activities outside the school area. We originally thought to cancel – but the presence of a high demand from parents, funding, and a motivated and qualified manager from the village - combined in our decision to conduct the summer camp as usual.

Samah Ighbariah – a Jerusalem community centre director and village member directed and organised the camp this year, together with a team of teachers and 21 young guides from the village. The Camp was publicized only via the school and the village, but the participation list was quickly filled by primary school students, NSWAS kids and many from other towns and villages in the area.

The main theme in this year’s Camp was Arab and oriental culture, for which special events were organised over four days. One event exposed the children to Arab music. Another focussed on a traditional wedding, including a henna ceremony and role playing in traditional dress. One day was given to Bedouin culture, with a tent, food preparation and talks by Bedouin. A fourth day focussed especially on Arab foods and cooking.

Another theme in the Camp was concern for the environment. The children learned how to care for gardens, create sculptures out of mud and clay, make colours from plants and flowers, and they also did a collective painting project on one of the school buildings.

The Camp included many field trips and excursions. One day, they went to see a play at the Arab – Jewish Theatre in Jaffa. The play, “Boom Trach Boom!” was entirely spoken in Aramaic – which lies somewhere between Hebrew and Arabic. Another day, they visited a traditional Arab village in northern Israel. In addition, there were two trips to nature sites, and two to amusement parks.

What made the Camp a success this year was wide participation from the village, which placed its halls, open areas, the swimming pool and the hotel’s kitchen at its service. There was a feeling of community cooperation throughout, which helped to offset the difficulty of not having the school buildings fully available.

The children had many wonderful experiences, and the Camp was also a learning experience for its guides and leaders. We learn from year to year how to improve the Camp. Next year, we will try to raise more money, in order to extend the range of activities. Samah says she dreams that one day we will be able to create a residential program from children from overseas.

And what will the guides and leaders be doing after the Summer Camp? Unwinding and recuperating their energy, on a special excursion of their own down to the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheq.

Special thanks to the Beracha Foundation (Israel), the Kennedy Leigh Charitable Trust (UK) and donors from Switzerland for making this year’s summer camp possible.

Fun at the Summer camp
Samah with the children
A painting project
The Bedouin tent
Coffee break
Mortar and pestle
Breadmaking
The last day
Pizza !

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