Now add 63 teens and 22 staff members. Welcome to Camp Kenya on the shore of Lake Naivasha!
For five days in December, teens from around Kenya and Tanzania enjoyed action-packed days of bicycling, swimming, hiking, team building, sewing and playing sports such as football, volleyball, basketball and Frisbee football. Other mainstays of camp were campfires and Christian Living classes.
The teens appreciated the opportunity to experience the fun and activities in a millennial setting among peers of like mind.
Many thanks to all the staff, including United Youth Corps volunteers Jamie Franks and Christina Davis and newly appointed associate senior pastor Tim Waddle, who were part of the team that contributed to a unique experience for all involved. Everyone helped make our second annual Camp Kenya a great success! It was a lot of tiring work, but the results were well worth it.
Youth Corps Volunteers Share Their Journals
During college break in December, Youth Corps volunteers Jamie Franks and Christina Davis came to Kenya where they served as staff members at Camp Kenya.
Both Jamie and Christina brought with them experience and expertise, and they received opportunities to mentor future leaders in the Church. They also received the gift of an altered worldview.
Jamie and Christina both wrote journals about their experiences, and excerpts are included here.
Jamie: "I think before adventuring to Africa, we all had preconceived notions of what we were going to encounter. We had heard the stories, read the articles and seen pictures of this place on the other side of the world. However, there are some things that books, pictures and secondhand stories can never prepare you for.
"Upon arrival in Africa, one of the first things that struck me was the sheer beauty of the country. The wildlife, the trees, the mountains, all truly beautiful, but the truly amazing part is that all this beauty serves as a backdrop to such great poverty, corruption and, at times, great suffering.
"With all that said, though, once we arrived at the camp and had the opportunity to travel around to the different churches and interact with the people, it was obvious that the people were just as beautiful and strong as the land. I admired that despite their hardships and difficulties, as a whole they had such unwavering, positive attitudes and were all striving forward to the same vision of the future that we all share."
Christina: "The entire staff all really worked as a team to support each other through the challenges and eye-opening experiences we faced each day. Apart from Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, none of us knew each other prior to the trip."
Jamie: "The summer camp, from day one, had many similarities as well as many differences to the camps that we had all been used to in the States. One of the major obstacles for us, as internationals, was the language barrier. We required a translator for almost every interaction, while we found some expressions and gestures to be truly ‘international.'
"We found the children to be very warm, friendly, attentive, willing to learn and always ready and waiting for our attention. And just like our camps in the States, there were many adults who took time away from their jobs and lives to serve and give of their time to help out at camp. But, just like our camps in the States, at the end we were all exhausted, and ready for a break!"
Christina: "It was amazing how we were able to relate our thoughts and passions with each other in such a dynamic setting. Traveling with two ministers also proved to be a fantastic learning experience for both of us. While driving and during meal times, we had in-depth discussions about being a youth in God's Church, what challenges members face living in Africa and our daily adventures.
"We would like to thank everyone who assisted us at the summer camp. Deacons and Church members took time from their work to aid the children."
Jamie: "We had the opportunity to travel to some of the more rural congregations. Some of these churches proved fairly challenging to get to, due to the roads or lack of roads, but we always made it without any major complications. Upon arriving, we were always received with an extremely warm welcome.
"It is amazing how you can be so far from home, around people you have never met before, who do not speak the same language, and then instantly you hear the familiar sound of hymns being played, and suddenly you feel right at home in a mud hut in Africa! Another good thing to know is that, even in Africa , after church there is always a potluck!
"I will continue to learn from the experiences I had in Africa throughout the rest of my life. The people have amazing hearts and at their very core, they are all striving for the same goals and future that we all are. I will never forget my time in Africa, and can't wait to go back and visit all of my new friends!"
The contribution to Camp Kenya that both Youth Corps volunteers made was very warmly welcomed by all the teens and greatly appreciated by their fellow staff. We hope they and many others like them will volunteer again to serve in a Youth Corps project like Camp Kenya!