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Ghana Summer Camp 2003

Project Dates: August 15-19, 2003

Youth Corps Volunteers Serve at Second Youth Camp in Ghana, West Africa

by Doug Horchak

A Vision of the Future was the theme at our second United Youth Camp in Ghana sponsored by United Church of God in West Africa. Council member and Dallas, Texas, pastor Doug and Tanya Horchak, their daughter, a friend and three United Youth Corps volunteers assisted at camp in this West African nation.

Enthusiasm and appreciation expressed by over 100 young people from both Ghana and Nigeria highlighted the camp experience that took place August 15 to 19. Ghanaian minister Maxwell Coffie assisted in organizing the five-day camp that was held on the campus of the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. In addition, the regional pastor for Ghana, Melvin Rhodes, was able to attend and assist at the youth camp this year. Campers stayed in student dormitories and enjoyed three meals of Ghanaian fare (such as jolaff rice, fu-fu, cooked plantain, banku and kenke) each day.

The 103 teens and young adults were organized into five teams of about 20 each. These groups of young people were larger than the dorms or teams we typically have at our camps in the United States, and were coed for all the program activities. Five of the Ghanaian Church pastors acted as counselors for the teams (pastors Manu Ofuri, Richard Dua,Adonijah Blay-Miezah, Benjamin Agyapong and Clement Amoako-Atta). While the vast majority of those attending were teens, a few young adults in their 20s were campers and assisted the counselors on each team.

Olidare Okinbo accompanied 11 young people from Nigeria to attend the youth camp in Ghana this year. The group from Nigeria traveled by road through the countries of Benin and Togo to attend camp. While the group from Nigeria faced the trial of not being allowed to cross the border from Nigeria into Benin for two days, they finally arrived on the Sabbath to the joy and answered prayers of the rest of the staff and campers. The Nigerian brothers and sisters were warmly welcomed by the Ghanaian youth and ministry, and made a wonderful contribution to camp.

The five program activities offered to the campers were: football (soccer), volleyball, team challenge, personal improvement and Bible class (Christian Living). Three United Youth Corps volunteers (Emily Sandilands of Dallas, Texas; Gareth Simons of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; and Logan Smith of Seattle,Washington) attended the camp and served on the staff. Emily Sandilands assisted Tanya Horchak in the personal improvement class which focused on personal hygiene, grooming and relationships. Gareth Simons taught the volleyball classes with the Ghanaian youth. Logan Smith assisted Doug Horchak with the team-building challenge class that focused on principles of trust, inclusion and teamwork.

All three Youth Corps staff hosted the Novelty Olympics that were held one evening during the camp. Americans Becky Horchak and Emily Quant attended camp and were able to assist with volleyball. Two other Ghanaian pastors (Frank Arthur and Joseph Baah) taught the football (soccer) class. Pastor Maxwell Azariah Coffie and Doug Horchak taught the Bible classes each day. Melvin Rhodes also assisted at the camp, and was in Ghana to conduct doctrine seminars for the local elders in the congregations.

Once again this year, the home office of the United Church of God subsidized the camp—without which a youth activity of this nature would simply not exist. The Ghanaian pastors gained valuable experience in planning for future camps in Ghana for the youth. In addition, members from the Dallas, Texas, congregation donated funds to purchase sports equipment for the camp. Some of these donated funds helped the Ghanaian pastors by purchasing four bicycles for pastors who live in the most remote areas of Ghana. Great appreciation was expressed to the home office and U.S. brethren by the youth and staff for the generosity shown.

The final night of camp was highlighted by an energized talent show consisting of “skits with a moral” performed by different members of the five camper teams. The goal at the beginning of camp was a Vision of the Future. The opening night of camp, Doug Horchak expressed the goals of building relationships and grasping the hopeful vision of God’s Kingdom that they would experience at camp. As camp came to a close, these goals seemed to be successfully accomplished as campers and staff alike said their good-byes and voiced the strong desire to repeat this unifying experience with both Ghanaian and Nigerian teens next year.

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