Two Soccer Camps were again held this past August, one in Jacmel and one in Lavalee. Each camp ran for three weeks and Monday to Saturday each week. A total of 170 children and youth attended the two camps which were coordinated by 21 volunteer leaders and 9 other volunteers.
The Soccer Camp in Jacmel was one of the best camps that the Haiti Children & Youth Project has organized, it hosted 110 participants and offered a variety of new activities.
This year the children and youth were divided into groups of 10. Every day of the camp the groups met with their assigned leaders to enjoy an activity and eat a meal together. The groups could choose from several different activities:
- A trip to the beach or pool,
- Visiting an art gallery,
- A visit to the countryside just outside Jacmel,
- A mission day (spending the day with a single parent family or an elderly person to help them with household chores),
- Learning to make decorations with balloons and material for a celebration or party,
- Visiting the historic area of Jacmel,
- Going out for an icy and sugary drink, similar to a slurpee, called fresco.
Another change this year was that camp attendees, leaders, and volunteers prepared their own meal and occasionally went out for pizza or sandwiches. For many of the children and youth it was the first time they had eaten pizza and the first time they had eaten in a restaurant – for most pizza is now a favorite!
In the late afternoon the groups gathered for soccer instruction and soccer games along with relays and fun games OR an education session and informal talent show (singing, skits, dancing, reciting a poem, etc.). Soccer instruction and games were scheduled every second day with education sessions and talent show on alternate days.
At the end the camp all eleven groups in Jacmel decided to organize a potluck with each group preparing a different part of the meal and helping to decorate the project office for a celebratory party. Their creativity was amazing! This final camp event was an emotional moment and a fun time for all.
While in Haiti for the Soccer Camps, Jean had the opportunity to talk one on one with several of the participants in Jacmel along with some of their parents or guardians. Unexpectedly his guidance and counsel were needed for a few sensitive situations with youth and their families which, thankfully, all had positive outcomes.
Also, at the start of camp it was evident that a few of the children and teens were in great need of shoes or flip flops and clothes so some of the Soccer Camp funds were used to purchase these individuals the item of clothing they needed the most.
SCHOOL BURSARIES / EDUCATION SUPPORT
During the 2023 Soccer Camp, and with the support of very generous donors, 173 children and youth received school supplies and bursaries for the 2023-2024 academic school year.
This year-round program in Jacmel continues to have a significant and positive impact on the lives of the 100 children and youth who are registered to attend project activities in Jacmel. When Jean
spoke one on one with the children and youth who attend project activities, along with some of their parents or guardians, all expressed gratitude for the meal program. The parents and guardians are very appreciative because, since the program began, they have less stress about how they will provide adequate food for everyone in their household. One single mom shared that she is extremely thankful for the meal program because she cannot afford to cook everyday so it is a great reassurance to her that the project provides her three children a nutritious meal 6-7 days a week.
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Many people in Jacmel and Lavalee, and all through Haiti, are unable to seek medical care from a doctor or nurse, or at a hospital, when they are unwell or have an accident because they are unable to pay for these healthcare services. The Medical Assistance program enables those in need to seek medical assessment and care by helping them pay their medical bills so – it is a real blessing for the community and saves lives.