» Back to UYC Projects

Nigeria Youth Camp 2010

Project Dates: August 10-26, 2010

Nigerian campers in the Blue Team after their softball match. More photos at Photo Gallery.

2010 Nigeria Project Report

by Roberta Kitts

The fifth annual United Youth Camp in Nigeria kicked off on Sunday, August 15th, 2010. Those of us who had traveled from the United States to participate in the Youth Corps program (Mark Mickelson (program director) and his wife Michelle, Cody and Bobbi Kitts, and Caleb Janicich) had arrived the previous Tuesday, August 10. We had five relaxing days, including a wonderful Sabbath, to adjust to our surroundings before camp began.  Caleb (for whom alone this was the first time in Nigeria) used this time to begin to explore the food, language, and culture of the country, and we all quickly realized that, with his adventurous spirit, he was going to fit into the program quite nicely.

On Sunday, the fifteenth, our work began in earnest. Sixteen campers and fourteen staff from the Benin City, Lagos, and Owerri congregations, as well as the five youth corps participants, arrived at the Afobaje Hotel near Ayetoro, Ogun state, for a week of fun, fellowship, and furthering their relationships with God and each other.

Camp Director Mr. Oludare Akinbo, assisted by his wife Tohun, had planned an exciting week for all of us.  Activities included computer appreciation, crafts, dance, rock climbing, rope bridge, softball, and volleyball. After breakfast and a compass check to start each day off right, campers split into two teams of eight (the Blue team and the Green team) for the day’s events.

Highlights for many campers were rock climbing and the rope bridge since such activities are quite rare in Nigeria.  As you might imagine, both activities gave some campers the opportunity to face fears and grow more courageous!

Softball was a new activity this year and most of the campers had never before picked up a bat, ball or glove.  It was quite a challenge for the staff to explain and demonstrate the rules of this brand new game, but by the end of the week, the campers understood the basics and had begun to develop their fielding and hitting skills.

Throughout the week, anticipation had been building for Friday – the day of team challenges.  That afternoon after lunch, the whole camp gathered at the softball field for the championship game.  After five innings, the Blue team emerged victorious.  Next, we all gathered at the site of the rope bridge activity. The campers had learned and practiced setting up a Tyrolean traverse between two fifteen-foot-high platforms that had been built around two trees some distance apart.  Their goal was to set up the traverse and transport all the members of the team from one platform to the other – and to do it all faster and with fewer mistakes than the other team.  In the end, the Green team won this contest. The volleyball championship followed, and after three tough games, the Green team again prevailed.

That evening brought the Sabbath, which gave us all a welcome chance to slow down a bit from the fast paced week.  Sabbath services the next day were followed by several hours of downtime during which campers reviewed their notes from the Bible studies given throughout the week in preparation for the Bible Bowl that would take place during dinner that evening.  For our last meal together, the Akinbos and the Mickelsons had planned a “cowboy” themed banquet. The Akinbos and the five Youth Corps members donned their best cowboy jeans and kerchiefs and served the meal to the campers and staff while music from the Bar J Wranglers played in the background.  Short videos created by each team during computer appreciation class to illustrate the camp experience were shown after the Bible Bowl. To wrap up the evening, campers got to use their newly acquired line, waltz, and swing dancing skills during a camp dance.  

The next morning, it was time to say goodbye.  Though there were a few tears, campers and staff reminded each other that they would be together again in a few short weeks at the Feast of Tabernacles.  By 8 a.m., all the campers and most of the staff had begun their journeys home.  Mr. Akinbo and several of the local staff then treated the Youth Corps participants to a trip to a secluded part of the beach on the Bight of Benin for an immensely enjoyable last day in Nigeria.

The following evening we boarded a plan to head for home, already missing our Nigerian family, but thankful for the opportunity we had had to spend time with them.

» Back to UYC Projects

» View Photo Gallery