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Kenya Summer Camp 2008

Project Dates: December 14-18, 2008

Summer Camp Report

by Liz Ryan

In December 2008, summer camp for the UCG teens in Kenya was held on the beautiful camp grounds of the Fish Eagle Inn at Lake Naivasha located in the middle of the Rift Valley. This year’s camp had 75 boys and girls in attendance. Many brethren from Kenya along with three United Youth Corps Project participants from Pennsylvania and Texas volunteered their time and energy to make the camp a success. Camp was coordinated, organized and directed by Mr. Antonio Ndung’u, an elder in Kenya and Mr. Tim Waddle, the associate head pastor for East Africa.

Staff members arrived early on Thursday morning, Dec. 11 to set up camp before the campers arrived at 3:00 in the afternoon. Camp activities officially commenced on Friday morning with Christian Living class. Mr. Ndung’u began by asking everyone the question, “What are your expectations of camp?” He then answered the question by emphasizing the importance of learning to walk according to God’s way of life and taking advantage of the opportunity to build friendships while at camp. After class, the campers enjoyed a morning full of fun camp activities such as volleyball, dodge ball and ultimate Frisbee. During the afternoon and evening hours, Bible study and seminars were conducted followed by a game of Bible football.

Bible football turned out to be one of the campers’ favorite activities. It was enjoyable to witness their excitement when answering questions about God and His instruction to us as illustrated in the Bible. Even when they did not know the answer, one could see on their faces the desire to learn. At one point, one of the girl dorms was challenged to find the answer to a question they did not know during the game on Friday evening. Roughly three or four days later three of the girls from the dorm were excited to report back with the correct answer. It was a great experience to see their enjoyment in increasing their knowledge about God.

Camp continued until the following Thursday, Dec. 18. Each day of camp was filled with exciting activities for all six of the girls and boys dorms. Cycling classes were instructed by Tim Charles of Pennsylvania. He held bicycle races for the campers while his assistant (and former camper) Calvin Onura helped others learn how to ride. Mr. Waddle directed team building and volleyball classes. During the volleyball classes, he taught the counselors, campers and camp staff assistant, Simon, how to officiate rally games. Those who learned were independently officiating the games by the end of camp. John Bynum introduced a new sport to many of the Kenyan teens—ultimate Frisbee. On the last evening of camp, John organized a female tournament between the counselors and campers. The campers proudly won in a close scoring game 4 to 3.

The Kenyan teens then had the opportunity to show the American United Youth Corps participants how football is played internationally. Camp activities director, John Otieno, took on the responsibility of organizing the football games for the campers. After playing games under the hot Kenyan sun, the campers had a chance to cool off during swimming hour held in the later afternoon hours. Counselor Linetbin Meraba learned how to swim in only three days. Both boys and girls dorms learned the skill of sewing during classes instructed by Mrs. Meraba.

When asked which was their favorite activity, the campers responded by listing them all. They did, however, say one of the highlights of camp was the boat ride across Lake Naivasha organized and led by Mr. David Gichuru. Each dorm had the opportunity to enjoy a one hour boat ride across the lake to a small island. Once on the island, one of the guides gave a brief geographical background on the area as well as factual information about the agricultural use of the land. During the boat ride, each person could gain a very real sense of the power of God through His creation. The beautiful still water seemed to stretch for miles between the giant hills of the Rift Valley. The peacefulness of the lake was interrupted only by the waves created from the boat engines and the families of hippos swimming near the land’s edge. It is impossible to deny God’s greatness when you experience the beauty of the land and the wild animals of Kenya.

Before activities began each morning, the entire camp attended the one hour Christian Living class together. Classes were led by Mr. Ndung’u, Mr. Waddle or one of the local elders in Kenya. Three of the younger male staff had the opportunity to speak to the campers about God’s instruction to us as His children. Their messages addressed topics involving each individual’s responsibility to be grateful and respectful to God and those who dedicated their time to make camp possible, the understanding of reaping what we sow and God’s instruction on how to choose our friends wisely. The day ended every evening with a camp discussion on the topic of that day’s Christian Living class as well hymns singing. It was during this time that we spent together that we could truly feel the presence of God among the family He is building. Regardless of our background, age or gender, we were truly united as one through God’s calling. It was a valuable and inspiring experience to share this time with brothers and sisters we may never have known.

Camp ended early Thursday morning on Dec. 18. All the campers and volunteers returned to their homes in Kenya. The Youth Corps participants enjoyed an extended tour of Kenya including a two-day safari at Lake Nakuru located a few miles north of Lake Naivasha. We left on a return flight to the States on Sunday evening, Dec. 21, with a broader vision and a stronger commitment to God’s work and His family.

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