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Ghana Summer Camp 2002

Project Dates: August 15-20, 2002

First-Ever United Youth Camp in Ghana

by Doug Horchak

The safe “zone” promoted at our United Youth Camps in the United States was focused on and taught at this first-ever youth camp sponsored by United Church of God in West Africa. Enthusiasm and appreciation expressed by over 70 young people highlighted the camp experience that took place August 15-20 th. Ghanaian pastor, Maxell Coffie and myself organized the 5-day youth camp that was held on the campus of the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Campers stayed in student dormitories and enjoyed 3 meals of Ghanian fare (such as jolaff rice, fu-fu, red-red, banku, and kenke) each day.

74 teens and young adults were organized into 4 teams of 18-20 each. These groups of young people were larger in size from the typical “dorm” or teams we typically have at our camps in the U.S., and were co-ed for all the program activities. Three of the Ghanaian Church pastors and one elder acted as counselors for the teams (Pastors Manu Ofuri, Richard Dua, Adonijah Blay-, and elder Eric Amankwa). Another unique aspect of the camp was age-range. Campers ranged in age from 14 to young adults in their mid-20’s. Since the brethren in Ghana had never experienced a camp such as this—the young adults were eager to participate as campers and lend their maturity and experience to the 4 groups.

The 4 program activities offered to the campers were: Football (soccer), Volleyball, Team Challenge, and Bible Class. Two United Youth Corps volunteers (Kimberly Franks of Dallas, Texas, and Lori Lambert of Houston, Texas) attended the camp and served on the staff. Lori Lambert taught the volleyball classes with the Ghanaian youth and organized the Novelty Olympics that were held during the camp. Kim Franks assisted myself (Doug Horchak) with the Team-building Challenge class and helped organize the Novelty Olympics, as well. Two other Ghanaian pastors (Frank Arthur, and Joseph Baah) taught the football (soccer) class. Pastor Maxwell Azariah Coffie and myself taught the Bible classes each day. Mr. Jim Franks also assisted at the camp, and was in Ghana to conduct doctrine seminars for the local elders in the congregations.

The Home Office of the United Church of God subsidized the camp this summer in an effort to “prime the pump” of experience and planning for future camps in Ghana for the youth. In addition, members from the Houston North and Dallas, Texas churches donated funds to purchase sports equipment for the camp, t-shirts for all of the campers, and new bibles for each Ghanaian youth in attendance. Great appreciation was expressed by the youth and staff for the generosity of their brethren in the U.S.

The final night of camp was highlighted by an energized talent show consisting of vocal presentations and skits performed by different members of the 4 camper teams. As I promised at the beginning of camp—we wanted the camp experience to be both a historic and memorable one. The opening night of camp, I had expressed the goal of sending the teens back to their towns and villages “hungry”—not for food, but for the friendships, camaraderie, and vision that they would experience at camp. The theme of the camp was that of building teamwork while strengthening the vision of the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ for the staff and youth attending the camp. That goal seemed to be successfully accomplished as campers and staff alike said their goodbyes and voiced the strong desire to have this be the first of what they hope and pray will be an annual youth camp in the West African nation of Ghana.

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