Well, the day started off on a strange foot. I awoke and apparently the girls had been AWAKE all night. As I said before, my expectations did not really go past the “girls arriving”, so I didn’t even think to put any worry into how the girls would behave! Keep in mind this was some of their first nights away from their family. We didn’t want them to just stick to their friends because the larger goal was to provide opportunities for networking and to create relationships between each other. The day before, when we had assigned rooms, we had quite a few tears because of the longing to be with their best friend. We had very little sympathy for them and just told them no. Little did we know that they would try to sleep in the TWIN-SIZED beds with their friends anyway… at one point in a five bed room, there were nine girls! Whew….
We were, of course, greeted by this crazy face!!!!!
We started off each morning with exercise, cardio, kickboxing etc….
You can imagine how difficult it was to wake them up after their festivities the night before!!!
In order to encourage them to build close relationships, we split the 26 girls into two groups for the week. So at any time during the camp- there would be two workshops going on at once.
The first workshops of the week were a First Responder workshop presented by a volunteer and a self-esteem workshop presented by another volunteer and her counterpart.
doing fabulous demonstrations
Then everyday, we had a little bit of art time! This is something very interesting about Morocco, it seems almost necessary for all camps to have some kind of art, singing or theater. I was always asked, “What about the theatre? Where’s that in the schedule?” For citizenship art day, they worked in groups to draw what would be their “Dream Town”.
Then of course, we HAD* to have a coffee break. This is also a “necessity” for camps. When we did our Spring Camp with no money, Tyler and I were told that it was not that good of a camp because we didn’t have a coffee break. Along with this, was also the designated parent-visiting time. A Moroccan counterpart told me that it would be troublesome if we didn’t have a designated time because then parents would come at all times of the day. It seemed a little strange to me, the girls would only be gone from their families for only a week. Of course, parents wouldn’t come to visit. But visit, they did! Some parents even came EVERY DAY* with their entire families to visit the girls. This speaks to the collective nature of Morocco. Family is so* important to Moroccans. It is difficult for them to be away for even 24 hours,even some happy tears were shed some of because some the girls would be so happy that their families came to see them! It is so endearing to see how much they love and care for each other. These subtleties in the culture are what make me feel close to Moroccans, even if I don’t always completely understand them.
delicious millwee, coffee and tea for coffee break!
Then after coffee break, we would have our second set of sessions for the day. The workshops on the night of Citizenship day were a Tolerance workshop and a Citizenship workshop. These were presented by Moroccan counterparts. This was very important to the planning of the camp- that most of the presenters be Moroccan women. We thought this would accomplish two things 1) It would make the camp overall more sustainable and 2) it would give the girls many positive role models to relate to
Every night after dinner, the girls would play games, dance and just enjoy each others company. These were also the moments that made me feel very emotional. Watching them connect and build relationships with one another, it made me realize that all of our hard work to put the camp together, was completely and totally worth it. Citizenship day was a success!!!!!