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Ghana Summer Camp 2005

Project Dates: August 17-22, 2005

UYC Volunteer with campers in Ghana

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

by Doug Horchak

What do banku, kenke, jollaf rice and red-red all have in common? They were the mainstay diet of Ghanaian food that Melvin Rhodes, three United Youth Corps workers and I had in common with 125 campers and staff at the fourth United Youth Camp in Ghana sponsored by the United Church of God in West Africa. Mr. Rhodes (senior pastor for Ghana) along with Owen Martin, Scott McIntosh and Aaron Blue (United Youth Corps volunteers) served at the camp. Maxwell Coffie, a pastor in Ghana, assisted in organizing the five-day camp that was held on the campus of Prempeh College in Kumasi, Ghana.

Enthusiasm and appreciation expressed by 110 young people from Ghana, Togo and Nigeria highlighted the camp Aug. 17-22.

The 110 teens and young adults were organized into five teams of about 22 each. These groups were larger than the dorms or teams we typically have at camps in the United States, and were coed for all the program activities. Five of the Ghanaian pastors served as counselors for the teams (Ofuri Amanfo, Augustus Eschan, Adonijah Blay, Ruel Dima and Clement 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 10 young people from Nigeria to attend the camp in Ghana this year. The group from Nigeria traveled by road through the countries of Benin and Togo. We were also blessed this year to have four young people from the neighboring nation of Togo join us for camp. This was a first and made this a truly West African camp.

Ghana youth campers

The five program activities offered to the campers were football (soccer), volleyball, team challenge, ultimate ball and Bible class (Christian Living). Three United Youth Corps volunteers (Aaron Blue of Boise, Idaho; Owen Martin of Toronto, Ontario; and Scott McIntosh of Ft. Worth, Texas) attended the camp and served on the staff.

Aaron and Owen taught ultimate ball, which is based on an American recreational game. Scott McIntosh assisted Dare Okinbo from Nigeria 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.

Frank Arthur (Ghanaian pastor) and Patrick (from Nigeria) taught the football (soccer) class. Mr. Coffie and I taught the Bible classes each day. Mr. Rhodes also assisted at the camp, and spoke on the weekly Sabbath.

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. 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 theme at the beginning of camp was “Being a Holy People unto God.” On the opening night of camp, I expressed the goals of building relationships and grasping the hopeful vision of God’s Kingdom that they would experience at camp. The campers were encouraged to see their role of training for the future to teach the world God’s way of life.

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 Ghanaian, Nigerian and Togolese teens in this West African nation again next year.

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