Life-long lasting transformation through cultural Exchange
“I´m more confident with myself, my English is much better than before and this will help me a lot in the future.¨ said Franciele after two years in Camp Hazen, last year as a camper and this year in the Leadership program. Diana was invited to get to know Camp Hazen in Chester, Connecticut by Brayce - our partner organization. What she imagined of the camp? She had no idea what to expect. Yet, 2 of our English Language students were already in the camp when she arrived. Chester is a very cute little town, surrounded by pure beautiful nature and cute wooden houses. Diana stepped in a different reality, coming from a conflicted area in the city Rio de Janeiro. This little town has Camp Hazen, almost 100 years old. It´s situated in pine woods, at the lake, the smell of the pines, the spacious green fields and the happiness of all kids and staff was what she immediately noticed. It filled her with happiness and confidence too. What she learned that it is not just a CAMP it is a child-centered community. Each child is seen as an individual and they teach skills that kids will use for ever.
In a nutshell what they learned: developed life-long skills, gain resilience, unplug from violence, social skills, experience success, increase confidence, grow more independent, make more and better friends and enjoy the outdoors. This all while having so much fun in a safe environment. Of course they improved their English big time.
The staff are role models, caring, committed, fun and responsible. Believing in the talents and the capabilities of the kids and youth and encouragement helped them to step out of the comfort zone in the place of courage. Our young students tried all new activities like archery, belaying, climbing, leap of faith, skating, creative activities, making radio, surfing etc. The Camp has strong values and important traditions with an impeccable way of organizing the CAMP; this creates a space where our young people can thrive and transform their lives for ever.
Franciele who was in the Camp last year and in the Leadership program this year said to me that she gained confidence, is capable of taking responsibility and ownership. These are not just words; she really changed. She came a long way and experiencing this life-long lasting transformation for a better future is what we want for our students. This is exactly why we do what we do. Thank you Brayce for our partnership, Camp Hazen for having me and having our Brazilian youngsters and helping us to create better futures. In the next newsletter more about the experience and transformation.