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Nigeria Summer Camp 2006

Project Dates: August 22-28, 2006

Greg Peoples with fellow camp staff member

First-Ever Nigeria United Youth Camp

by Oludare Akinbo

Aug. 22 was a day to be much remembered in the minds of the UCG members in Nigeria. It was the first day of the first United Church of God youth camp in the history of United in Nigeria. It had been exactly 11 years since there was a youth camp in Nigeria.

The Nigerian youth camp took place from Aug. 22 to 28, 2006. The location was a quiet and picturesque place at Afobaje Hotel, on the outskirts of an ancient town, Aiyetoro, in Ogun State in the southern part of Nigeria. The camp location was about 25 minutes from one of the tourist attraction in the state called Olumo Rock or “The Rock.”

Thirty campers from all the congregations in the country, including 11 boys and 19 girls, attended the youth camp.

Also attending were two minicampers, a 2-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy, Rotiwa and Tomiwa Akinbo. They are the children of the associate pastor, Oludare Akinbo, who helped coordinate the camp along with his wife. In addition to the campers, 18 staff members assisted in the goal of creating an enabling environment for these young people, all but four of whom have had no previous camp experience.

The camp director, Doug Horchak, an experienced camp director and pastor from the Dallas, Texas, congregation traveled from Ghana where he also helped with the youth camp in that country. He, along with Oludare Akinbo, handled the Christian Living classes, prebreakfast Compass Checks and volleyball.

Mr. Horchak was joined by Greg Peoples, a volunteer staff member also from the Dallas, Texas, congregation.

Mr. Peoples was on his first trip to Africa. He also added his unique Texan spice to the Team Challenge activity and various aspects of camp. It was a blessing indeed to have him volunteer to come and be with us here.

The activities included soccer, computer appreciation, Christian Living, Team Challenge and volleyball.

The computer appreciation class had each of the three camper teams assist in putting together a camp newsletter that is available for download at the UCG Nigeria’s Web site.

On the Sabbath, Mr. Horchak traveled to Lagos to speak and fellowship with the brethren while Oludare Akinbo and Greg Peoples conducted the service at camp.

The last night of camp was a special night in that there was a formal banquet, with the boys having to escort two ladies picked randomly to the banquet. After the wonderful dinner (and dessert of ice cream and cake courtesy of a member of the Dallas, Texas, congregation, Dora Jennings, and her mother, Carmen Avilla), the teams all presented very interesting and wonderful skits.

We thank God Almighty for the gift of being able to organize and hold the camp again in Nigeria for our youths. A number of the staff members who have had camp experience in WCG all felt extremely happy to have the opportunity to participate in passing on to the youths what was passed on to them.

Campers and staff all benefited immensely, and the comments of the campers were very encouraging. Just like the theme of the UYC 2006 camp video, I believe the first UYC in Nigeria was indeed an “Extreme Makeover” experience for all of the participants! The camp ended with everybody having had a thoroughly wonderful time and looking forward to next year’s camp.

The campers and staff all departed for their home areas on Aug. 29.

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